A new report jointly compiled by the United Nations, the European Union and the World Bank says the socioeconomic situation in the besieged Gaza Strip has been weakened further since the Israeli war in May.
The Gaza Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) report, published on Tuesday, estimated the damage caused by the 11-day bombardment to stand at about $380 million. The recovery needs are projected to cost up to $485 million.
“Following the hostilities, 62 percent of the population of Gaza is food insecure,” the report said.
It also found that the rate of unemployment was at 48 percent. And before the war, poverty rates were above 50 percent.
The report said a large part of the damage was caused to housing, health, education, and social protection and jobs.
“The housing sector alone represents almost 93 percent of the total damages to the social sectors.”
The report recommended that the international community increase its support for cash assistance programs for Gazans, ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid, and transfer critical medical cases and patients outside of the Palestinian enclave.
“In the short-term, socioeconomic recovery in Gaza will be determined by two factors: the level of available financing, including from donors, for reconstruction activities; and the extent of the restrictions on movement and access of people and goods entering Gaza, particularly the supply of essential reconstruction materials.”
Last month, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions warned that Israel’s continued closure of the Gaza border crossings could lead to a major humanitarian catastrophe.
Israel has also launched three major wars on Gaza since 2008.
In the latest bombardment campaign, at least 260 Palestinians, including over 60 children, were killed in a time span of 11 days that began on May 10. The Gaza-based resistance movements retaliated.
The regime was eventually forced to announce a ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, which came into force in the early hours of May 21.
The Gaza Strip, home to some two million people, has been under a blockade imposed by Israel since June 2007.
In recent years, the enclave has been receiving its bare essentials through the Kerem Shalom crossing as well as two others, including one with Egypt, which is being strictly controlled by the government in Cairo.