Gaza marks worst figures in years under Israeli blockade

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
Istanbul
Published 07.09.2019 00:12
Updated 07.09.2019 14:00
A toddler sits in the doorway of a deserted house as a woman sweeps in the background, Gaza City, Sept. 3, 2019.
A toddler sits in the doorway of a deserted house as a woman sweeps in the background, Gaza City, Sept. 3, 2019.

An annual report on the humanitarian situation in Israeli-blockaded Gaza reveals tragic human development figures in unemployment and health services, where Palestinians have long been suffering

The blockaded Gaza Strip has the highest tragic human development figures in the world, according to a report released by a humanitarian aid nongovernmental organization (NGO). The Istanbul-based Gaza Aid Association held a conference dedicated to the Gaza Strip and released its annual report on the humanitarian situation in the enclave. The situation in the strip is "the worst over the years of siege," said Abdul Majed al-Aloul, the head of the humanitarian aid group. It recorded tragic figures that were "the highest in the world in the fields of unemployment with 52%, poverty at 53% and water pollution at 95% and a daily power outage rate that reached 75%," he said.

He warned against an imminent disaster in the Gaza Strip as the year 2020 approaches when Gaza will not be livable, according to U.N. estimates. Last September, the World Bank warned that the Gaza economy was in "free fall," calling on Israel and the international community to take immediate action to avoid an "immediate collapse" in the Palestinian territory.

Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been under a crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade that has gutted its economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of many vital commodities, including food, fuel and medicine. In the long-embargoed enclave, the humanitarian situation has grown worse by the day. The U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) earlier stated that there are now some 620,000 Gazans who live in abject poverty, meaning those who cannot cover their basic food needs and who have to survive on $1.6 per day, and nearly 390,000 absolute poor.

Israel's long-standing blockade also creates serious obstacles for Gazans to have access to a variety of medical supplies. The humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories has deteriorated further as hospitals struggle to cope with high casualties since protests on the Gaza-Israel border began last year. Gaza's health system of 13 public hospitals and 14 clinics, run by NGOs, has buckled under persistent blockade-linked shortages of medicine and surgical supplies. The medicine shortage rate is 50% in the enclave and lack of medical supplies is 27%, said Omar Tasli, a regional representative of the Islamic Committee of the International Crescent, speaking at the conference.

As part of a growing humanitarian crisis in the besieged enclave, scores of Palestinians have long demonstrated against high unemployment rates in the Gaza Strip. With poverty rampant and unemployment high, many of its 2 million residents depend on services provided by UNRWA. Based on a report from the World Bank, unemployment is now over 50% and over 70% among Gaza's youth. The poverty rate in the Gaza Strip has reached 80% during the more than decade-long Israeli blockade, according to the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions. Scores of Palestinians have long demonstrated against high unemployment rates in the Gaza Strip, which has been reeling under the crippling Israeli blockade.

In addition, 77% of homes in Gaza have been destroyed and damaged by Israeli attacks leaving thousands of families homeless or displaced amid a crippled reconstruction process, according to Anne Jellema, head of Run4, a Netherlands-based relief foundation.

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