Friday, 15 January 2021

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Gaza: Twice as many homes damaged than estimated


26 December 2014. Urgent funded is required to address unprecedented destruction in the Gaza strip, according to UNRWA, the UN agency mandated to provide assistance to Palestinian refugees.

More than twice as many refugee family homes in Gaza were damaged or destroyed during this summer’s conflict than had initially been estimated, according to the technical assessment just completed by UNRWA. “Based on satellite imagery and preliminary field work conducted immediately after the conflict we estimated about 42,000 refugee family shelters had been affected by the war, we now know that over 96,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, more than double what we expected to find” said Robert Turner, Director of Operations for UNRWA in Gaza.

Damage is spread throughout the Gaza Strip with the largest concentrations in the areas along the Eastern boundary, areas physically occupied by Israeli forces during the fifty-day conflict. The assessment process itself involved almost 700 social workers and engineers working in virtually every neighbourhood in Gaza to compile the data.

Over 7,000 refugee homes were completely destroyed, affecting some 10,000 families. An additional 89,000 homes suffered damage, about 10,000 of them major damage (more than US$ 5,000). “These numbers are huge and represent both a major challenge to the Agency as it works to provide transitional shelter and repair and reconstruction support, and clear physical evidence of the ferocity and wide-spread nature of the conflict” added Mr. Turner. “You can see from the map of damage, nowhere was safe.”

UNRWA has estimated total funding required to provide rental subsidies to families with no alternative shelter, reconstruction of destroyed homes and repair for those with damage will cost some US$ 720 million. To date, some US$ 100 million has been pledged, leaving a gap of US$ 620 million.

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