Photo: Palestinians inspect the damage caused by an Israeli air strike in the town of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 12, 2021. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Shutterstock

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U.N. estimates up to $190 million in economic losses in Gaza after May hostilities

The hostilities in May in Gaza led to between $105 million and $190 million in economic losses, according to the United Nations.

The U.N.’s Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment also revealed physical damage costing up to $380 million.

The hostilities did more damage to the already faltering socioeconomic conditions, according to the U.N.

The 11 days of Israeli attacks killed 260 people, including 66 children and 41 women. Violence started on May 9 when Israeli forces, armed with a court order, started throwing out Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods. 

“Palestinians in Gaza have suffered from the cumulative costs, human and economic, of recurrent hostilities over the last three decades, as well as prolonged restrictions on the movement of people and commercial goods at border crossings, limits to fishing off Gaza’s coast, and now the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the multilateral agency in a statement on July 6.

“The humanitarian crisis is worsened in an economy with very limited ties to the outside world,” it added.

Housing alone represents almost 93% of the total damage to the social sectors. The second most severely affected are the productive and financial sectors, with agriculture and services, trade and industry leading.

“Gaza’s GDP may contract by 0.3% in 2021 compared to an estimated 2.5% annual growth before the conflict,” said the U.N.

The agency is running the Building-Back-Better approach in Gaza that focuses on rebuilding a more resilient climate-friendly economy and infrastructure and people’s ability to absorb shocks, as well as on improving living standards and lives.

Recovery and reconstruction needs during the first 24 months are estimated between $345 million and $485 million.

Critical recovery needs include cash assistance to around 45,000 individuals for food and non-food assistance.

“Early interventions are needed to improve food production in agri-food and fishery and rehabilitate physical assets,” said the U.N.

“In addition, financial support is needed to reconstruct the badly damaged micro and small enterprises that provide services, goods, and jobs to the communities, with a focus on sustainable energy- and water-efficient techniques.”

62% of Gaza’s population are now food insecure after the May hostilities, the agency estimates.

The World Food Programme on May 17 said two-thirds of the more than 2 million people who live in Gaza were already food insecure before the May conflict started.


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