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Warning Gaza situation remains 'very fragile', with 'painfully slow' reconstruction

December 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm

The situation in the Gaza Strip “remains very fragile”, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has warned, as winter weather conditions worsen.

In an update published on 2 December, OCHA pointed to “the scale of the needs, the slow pace of reconstruction, the ongoing blockade and internal tensions”, factors whose impact could be “further exacerbated in the event of anticipated, small-scale emergencies, such as winter flooding.”

According to the UN agency, around 100,000 people are still “displaced and in need of immediate assistance”, while “72% of households are food insecure or vulnerable to food insecurity.”

In addition, some 450,000 people are “currently not supplied through the water network due to damage and/or low pressure”, while Israel’s affected 113,500 homes – 13% of the total housing stock. Some 22,000 housing units were destroyed or severely damaged.

A week ago, Israeli NGO Gisha described Gaza’s reconstruction as “painfully slow”, with “a massive shortage in construction materials.” Gisha described how between August 26 and November 20, only 62,928 tons of construction materials entered Gaza, just 1.2% of the overall need.

Gisha flagged up reports from sources on the ground testifying that “the mechanism for overseeing the entrance of construction materials into Gaza” is sufficiently “complicated” that it is “interfering” with the rebuilding work.