Monday, 1 September 2014

Tens of thousands remain homeless in Gaza


One week after a ceasefire halting an Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip, tens of thousands of Palestinians remain displaced, sheltered in United Nations schools and other facilities.

On Sunday, 58,071 people still lived in 36 UN schools across the coastal enclave, according to Chris Gunness, spokesperson for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees.

With 15,670 housing units damaged, including 2,276 completely destroyed, and up to 500,000 Palestinians displaced over the 51-day onslaught, the number staying with extended families, in temporary rentals and at government and informal shelters is probably higher.

An estimated 108,000 Palestinians will need long-term solutions because their homes were too severely damaged to inhabit or destroyed altogether, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).

The crisis is compounded by the fact that there was already a deficit of 71,000 housing units for Gaza’s nearly 1.8 million residents even prior to the Israeli attack, UN OCHA estimates.

And with reconstruction yet to begin, and likely to prove difficult due to ongoing Israeli restrictions on the importation of building materials, displaced Palestinians face uncertain futures. more

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