Israeli bombardment severely weakened Gaza economy, says report

A UN, EU, and World Bank report estimates the cost of damage to the Gaza Strip after the 11-day May offensive between $290 million and $380 million.

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The socioeconomic situation in the Gaza Strip depreciated because of the Israeli belligerence in May, a report by the United Nations, the European Union and the World Bank has found.

The Gaza Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) report published on Tuesday estimated that the damage caused by the 11-day bombardment was between $290 million and $380 million, while the recovery needs are projected between $345 million and $485 million. “Following the hostilities, 62 percent of the population of Gaza is food insecure,” the report said, adding that unemployment was already at 48 percent and poverty rates were above 50 percent before the escalation.

The violence killed at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, and caused extensive harm to infrastructure and residential areas. On the Israeli side, 13 people were killed.

The Gaza Strip is one of the world’s most thickly populated areas, where two million Palestinians, half of which are under the age of 18, living in 365 square kilometers of the coastal territory. It has been under blockade by Egypt and Israel for 14 years, which resulted in a dire humanitarian situation that a UN report had predicted would be “unlivable” in 2020.

At least 800,000 people do not have access to clean water, and electricity runs for only a few hours a day. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already weak healthcare system, with medical equipment and medicine in short supply.

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