UN report says Gaza ‘unlivable’ with 10 years into siege

Gaza: A UN report ‘ Gaza-10 year later’ published on Tuesday, says living conditions in Gaza are unlivable. In the past 10 years, key indicators such as declining income, healthcare, education and electricity have worsened. These factors were identified in early 2012 UN report.

The report says that Gross Domestic Product per capita, health services continued to decline. It also finds that the only water resource is predicted to be “irreversibly-depleted” by 2020 unless immediate action is taken, reports Al Jazeera.

UN Coordinator explains:

“Gaza has continued on its trajectory of de-development, in many cases even faster than we had originally projected,” said Robert Piper, the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities. “When you’re down to two hours of power a day and you have 60 percent youth unemployment rates … that un-livability threshold has been passed quite a long time ago,” he added.

Adding to this he said, the downward direction remains clear despite humanitarian causes, including those by UN trying to slow down Gaza’s fall. “I see this extraordinarily inhuman and unjust process of strangling gradually two million civilians in Gaza that really pose a threat to nobody,” he added.

Commenting in an interview with a Palestinian news agency, Piper said that it is still possible to avoid a humanitarian crisis only if the international community acted fast. “We need first to put these people a bit higher up, if not at the top of the agenda. We’re 100 percent optimistic that it’s doable if there’s a willingness on the part of the key actors to make it happen,” Piper said.

Man-made political situation that requires action:

Robert Vallent, UN Development Program spokesperson in Gaza, said that Gaza’s residents should not be downgraded to a humanitarian case. Adding to that, he said: “People are not necessarily in a condition of starvation but they are in a critical situation, this is a man-made political situation that requires political action.”

Furthermore, he added, it is not sufficient enough for the international community to push for a relaxation of the blockade, but for a complete lifting of it.

Moreover, “What is required is to provide people with the critical capital investment for them to be able to sustain themselves in a dignified manner, which means there needs to be a long-term plan and strategy to ensure the economic and institutional rehabilitation of the economy of Gaza,” Vallent stated.

In 2007, the Palestinian movement Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip, after a failed US-backed preventive takeover by its rival group ‘Fatah’. Soon after which, Israel moved to isolate the group by restricting the flow of goods and people in and out of Gaza, limiting access to the sea and working with Egypt to enforce a siege. The coastal enclave is home to around two million Palestinians and has a median age of 18.

Israel has launched three attacks on Gaza since 2008, in which thousands of Palestinians were killed. Severe damage to Gaza’s already weak infrastructure contributed to the current humanitarian fall.

On July 7, Israel’s intelligence and transport minister announced plans to build an island port along the coast of the Gaza Strip, to help ease the humanitarian situation there, though the project has not been officially approved yet.