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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024

UN calls for an unprecedented reconstruction effort in Gaza after a devastating conflict

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The UN estimates a staggering $40-50 billion is needed for Gaza’s reconstruction, marking it as the most significant rebuilding effort since World War II

The recent conflict in Gaza has resulted in unprecedented destruction, reminiscent of the devastation seen in the aftermath of World War II, according to a senior UN official. Abdallah al-Dardari, Director of the UN Development Programme’s Regional Bureau for Arab States, emphasized the catastrophic impact during an online briefing, estimating the cost of reconstruction between $40-50 billion.

“The intensity, in such a short time, and the massive scale of destruction are unlike anything we have seen since 1945,” al-Dardari stated, highlighting the dire situation in Gaza. Over 70% of housing in the area has been destroyed, and the task of debris removal alone is monumental, with estimates suggesting about 37 million tonnes need clearing. This figure starkly contrasts with the 2.4 million tonnes removed after the 2014 conflict, underscoring the scale of the current devastation.

The conflict has not only regressed Gaza’s physical infrastructure but also its human development achievements by decades. “All investments in human development… for the last 40 years in Gaza have been wiped out,” al-Dardari lamented, pointing out that the territory’s human development index has effectively returned to conditions akin to the 1980s.

The UNDP’s immediate recovery strategy focuses on a three-year plan to provide temporary shelters and restore basic services, enabling Palestinians to return to their former residential areas. This initial phase is crucial for stabilizing the region and preventing further humanitarian crises.

The Israeli military operation in Gaza, which began on October 7, has been one of the most intense in modern history, with Palestinian authorities reporting over 34,500 fatalities. The extensive bombardments have reduced large areas to rubble, with a looming famine in northern Gaza exacerbated by severe restrictions on food and humanitarian supplies.

The conflict erupted following a significant escalation by Hamas on October 7, involving attacks in southern Israel that resulted in over 1,139 deaths and the capture of about 240 individuals. The situation has prompted international outcry and a desperate need for humanitarian interventions.

Despite the dire circumstances, attempts at diplomatic solutions continue. Recent developments include a delegation from Hamas planning to visit Egypt for talks, and discussions around ceasefire proposals are ongoing. Ismail Haniyeh, the chief of Hamas’s political bureau, conveyed a “positive spirit” regarding the ceasefire discussions, suggesting a possible de-escalation in the near future.

As the international community watches closely, the reconstruction of Gaza stands as a monumental challenge, requiring substantial financial resources and coordinated global efforts to address both the physical damage and the profound human suffering caused by the conflict.

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