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Gaza suffers $1.5bn losses from siege, covid this year

December 24, 2020 at 3:42 pm

Shoppers wearing face masks to stem the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in Gaza on 10 December 2020 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

Gaza’s economy has suffered a loss of $1.5 billion dollars this year, announced the head of Gaza’s National Committee for Breaking the Siege.

Palestinian politician Jamal Al-Khudari stressed in a statement published today that this year was the most dangerous due to Israel’s ongoing blockade of the coastal enclave which was exacerbated by the outbreak of coronavirus.

Since June 2007, Gaza residents have been under a strict Israeli land, air and sea embargo, which even hinders their access to medical care.

Under this oppressive siege, Israel has reduced the entry of goods to a minimum, while external trade and exports have been stopped except in very exceptional cases.

Moreover, the poverty rate jumped from 40 per cent in 2007 to 56 per cent in 2017, leaving more than one million Palestinians with no income.

Al-Khudari explained that the economic repercussions of the blockade and virus threaten the food security of almost 70 per cent of families in Gaza, while more than 85 per cent live below the poverty line.

READ: Europe MPs call for ending siege on Gaza, allowing covid relief in

Additionally, the unemployment rate in the besieged Gaza Strip has risen further to 60 per cent which has affected more than 350,000 workers directly and indirectly and led to the closure of several factories, companies and workshops who had to lay off thousands of employees.

The official urged the free world to move quickly in a “moral, humanitarian and legal” manner to stand by and save Gaza. He pointed out that “the world should not wait for what is coming for the people of Gaza” and “urgent action and strong moves should be taken to save what is left to save.”