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Agricultural sector in Gaza suffers $204 million in losses due to Israeli onslaught

A Palestinian youth pets a cat in a building heavily damaged during recent Israeli strikes, on June 1, 2021, in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip, more than a week after a ceasefire brought an end to 11 days of hostilities between Israel and Palestinian resistance fighters. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinian agricultural authorities say the total losses that the sector suffered as a result of the recent Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip are estimated to stand at $204 million.

The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture in the densely populated coastal enclave said Gazan farmers were forcibly displaced during the 11 days of the Israeli onslaught as Tel Aviv indiscriminately bombarded the blockaded territory, and prevented them from reaching and working on their land.

“The losses included the destruction of hundreds of acres of vegetable crops and trees as a result of direct targeting, as well as the disruption of water for irrigation purposes,” the ministry announced in a statement.

It added, “Livestock owners also incurred losses, as a large number of birds and animals died as a result of the interruption of the supply of animal feed due to the closure of border crossings.”

The Palestinian agricultural authorities warned that the latest offensive on Gaza made access to land, the availability of an open market for produce as well as export opportunities worse.

“There is also an environmental disaster looming in the north of the Gaza Strip, as a result of Israel's bombing of the warehouses belonging to the supplier of agricultural necessities including fertilizers, pesticides and plastic,” the officials argued.

They called on international and human rights institutions to take the necessary steps to address the issue and its negative repercussions on human beings, animals, the environment and public health.

Compensation should be paid to farmers and other workers in the agricultural sector, the officials concluded.

1,200 homes completely destroyed in Israel’s Gaza strikes

Separately, a senior Palestinian official says an assessment shows at least 1,200 housing units were completely destroyed in the latest round of fighting between Israel and Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza.

Naji Sarhan, deputy of Gaza's works and housing ministry, said on Thursday that 1,000 other units were also damaged in the 11-day war, and they are uninhabitable now.

“According to our estimates, the cost of rebuilding the destroyed housing units in Gaza is $150 million,” he said.

Sarhan noted that six residential towers, including al-Jalaa, Hanadi, al-Jawhara and al-Shorouk towers, were destroyed during the latest Israeli operation on the besieged coastal enclave.

“The number of Palestinians displaced in Gaza has reached 10,000, of which about 2,000 ones are left without shelter,” the official stated.

Nearly 200K Palestinians need medical aid after Gaza bombings: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Palestinians are facing “staggering health needs” in the occupied territories after the last month's conflict in the Gaza Strip.

“WHO is scaling up its response to provide health aid for almost 200,000 people in need across the occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT),” which includes the West Bank, WHO's Eastern Mediterranean regional office said in a statement.

“The situation is volatile. WHO remains concerned... and calls for unhindered access for humanitarian and development-related essential supplies and staff into Gaza and referral of patients out of Gaza whenever needed,” warned the WHO's Rik Peeperkorn.

“Over 77,000 people were internally displaced and around 30 health facilities have been damaged” in the hostilities, the global health body said in its statement.

At least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in 11 days of conflict that began on May 10. Israel’s airstrikes also brought widespread devastation to the already impoverished territory.

The Gaza-based resistance movements responded by launching over 4,000 rockets into the occupied territories, some reaching as far as Tel Aviv and even Haifa and Nazareth to the north.

The Israeli regime was eventually forced to announce a ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, which came into force in the early hours of May 21.

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