The Minister of Public Works and Housing in Gaza, Youssef Al-Gharez, has revealed that the United Arab Emirates has donated $50 million to build a housing complex for released prisoners. The project will be named after the President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In a press statement, Minister Al-Gharez expressed his appreciation of the support given by the Emirates for the people of Palestine. He thanked the president, government and people of the UAE for the generous donation. He pointed out that Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh will be visiting the UAE soon as part of a wider foreign tour to thank everyone who has made great efforts to support the Palestinian cause.
"We do not forget the delegations which visited Gaza during the aggression in addition to the political breakthrough in international relations, the support of developmental and reconstruction projects, and bringing aid to our besieged people in Gaza, which has been suffering from this blockade for six years," said Al-Gharez.
Meanwhile, the minister pointed out that the registration private for private residential apartments in the new Qatar-funded Sheikh Hamad City will start within weeks. Terms and conditions will be available for potential residents to apply; if, as expected the housing programme is over-subscribed, names will be drawn at random after priority cases have been allocated.
The apartments will be sold at cost price to citizens who will have the option of paying by instalments over 20 years. The expected monthly payment for an apartment will be between $100 and $200. Revenue from the programme will be placed in a special housing fund to build more apartments and help even more citizens to have affordable homes.
The current spate of construction projects is focusing on replacing the damaged building following Israel's offensives on the Gaza Strip in 2008/9 and November 2012. The estimated cost of the destruction is put at $1.25 billion. Two hundred homes were destroyed completely, said Al-Gharez; 300 were left uninhabitable, and 8,000 suffered partial damage. Those whose homes were destroyed completely have been given $5,000 from an emergency shelter fund. Other families have been given assistance to help them to pay the rent for temporary accommodation.
The minister was pleased to note that his ministry has completed the reconstruction of 2,800 residential units out of 3,500 which were destroyed completely during Israel's 2008/9 war on Gaza; work on the remaining 700 residential units is underway. He expressed his hope that the rebuilding will be finished by the end of 2013.