The Gaza Strip "could be uninhabitable by 2020," news agencies reported the UN warning yesterday.
In a report published for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) the nearly decade long Israeli siege on the Strip along with last summer's Israeli military assault which demolished most of the enclave's vital infrastructure were given as reasons for the potential disaster.
"The social, health and security-related ramifications of the high population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza un-liveable by 2020, if present trends continue," the report said.
It added: "Reconstruction efforts are extremely slow relative to the magnitude of devastation, and Gaza's local economy did not have a chance to recover."
"There is no time for meaningful reconstruction or economic recovery after eight years of a devastating Israeli economic blockade."
Commenting on the report, UNCTAD's Mahmoud Elkhafif said: "The fact that electricity is not enough, that a number of hospitals have been destroyed, the fact that there is no drinking water enough, it is just what any rational human would (not) doubt what's going to happen."
He added: "I mean, we had had a study before the destruction of 2014 indicating that Gaza will not be livable in 2020, it's not that things stayed as they were in 2020 but they got much, much worse in 2014."
In 2014, the Israeli occupation carried out a massive offensive on Gaza that resulted in the death of about 2,260 Palestinians and wounded more than 11,000 others.
It also destroyed more than 18,000 homes, hospitals and other facilities.
"In another sign of the deteriorating conditions on the ground," the UNCTAD report said "that in the year 2000, 72,000 people depended on food aid, but now that number has risen to almost a million."
It added: "In Gaza, unemployment is as high as 80 per cent."