100,000 Still Displaced in Gaza One Year On

July 8, 2015 marks the one-year anniversary since the latest conflict in Gaza. The hostilities in the summer of 2014 left over 2,000 Palestinians dead and more than 100,000 homeless.

The Gaza strip, one year from the war, remains littered with rubble and displaced families who cannot return to their homes. Photo: Norwegian Refugee Council

The Gaza strip, one year from the war, remains littered with rubble and displaced families who cannot return to their homes. Photo: Norwegian Refugee Council

None of the 12,600 houses destroyed a year ago have been rebuilt, leaving up to 100,000 people still displaced, with many of them living in makeshift tents or struggling to earn enough to pay rent in an economy shattered by eight years under blockade.

An extra 83,977 housing units are still waiting for repair assistance and people continue to live in homes that bare gaping holes from the bombardment.

At present Gaza is getting just 7.5 per cent of daily construction materials needed to cover the housing demand, but even where materials are available, the people lack the finances to start reconstruction in an area with the highest unemployment rate in the world.

Large swathes of rubble are still waiting to be cleared – some still containing unexploded ordnance from the war – the water network has suffered severe damage and electricity only comes intermittently. Despite the ongoing humanitarian crisis, the Israeli blockade of Gaza continues to severely restrict humanitarian aid and reconstruction efforts, as well as any revival of the once thriving economy in Gaza. One year has passed since the 51-day escalation of hostilities started, but the situation in Gaza remains dire.

The Gaza Shelter Cluster estimates that 17,817 families are still displaced and not a single new house has been built. These families are in urgent need of temporary shelter, as well as solutions for long-term housing.

Gaza children drawings 6

Palestinian children from Gaza make drawings of the air raids on their homes. Photo: Norwegian Refugee Council

The Gaza Strip is home to a population of more than 1.76 million people, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRAWA), including 1.26 million Palestine refugees.

For the last decade, the socioeconomic situation in Gaza has been in steady decline. Years of conflict and closure have left 80 per cent of the population dependent on international assistance.

Over half a million Palestine refugees in Gaza live in the eight recognized Palestine refugee camps, which have one of the highest population densities in the world.