The Gaza Strip may already be “unlivable” after a decade of a crippling Israeli blockade that hit all aspects of life there, a UN official warned Tuesday.
Robert Piper, the UN coordinator for humanitarian aid and development activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, told AFP in an interview to mark the launch of a report on living conditions in Gaza that all indicators “are going in the wrong direction”.
“We predicted some years ago that Gaza would fast become unlivable on a host of indicators and that deadline is actually approaching even faster than we predicted, from health access, to energy to water,” he said.
A 2012 UN report had predicted the Palestinian enclave would be “unlivable” by 2020 if nothing was done to ease the blockade.
Piper said Gaza’s power supply was down to as little as two hours a day, medical care considerably declined and youth unemployment was over 60 percent.
“For most of us that unlivability point has already been passed”, he said. “And yet somehow the Gazans soldier on.”
The new UN report, “Gaza, Ten Years Later,” says more than 95 percent of Gaza’s water is now unfit for drinking.
In 2007, the democratically elected Hamas Movement seized control of Gaza after a failed US-backed pre-emptive coup by its rival faction Fatah.
Afterwards, Israel, in coordination with Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas and the then US administration, moved to isolate the group by restricting the flow of goods and individuals in and out of Gaza, and later worked with Egypt to enforce the blockade.
Since 2008, Israel had launched three wars on Gaza, which is home to around two million people, in which it massacred thousands of Palestinians and caused widespread destruction to homes and infrastructure. These wars have contributed to the current humanitarian crisis.
(Source / 12.07.2017)