The Gaza Strip, bordering Egypt and Israel, may be practically ‘unliveable’ by 2020, said a report by the United Nations this week, with nearly 2.1 million expected to be displaced due to lack of improvement in water, power, health, education and sanitation facilities.
The report, entitled “Gaza in 2020: A liveable place?” claimed that the region’s basic infrastructure was "struggling to keep pace with a growing population,” after an Israeli blockade had left the area “essentially isolated since 2005.”
“Gaza remains subject to severe restrictions on imports, exports and the movement of people, by land, air and sea, as a result of the blockade Israel imposed on the area for what it called security reasons after the Hamas group, which does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, ousted the Fatah movement in the Strip in 2007,” the report said.
Israel, on its part, has repeatedly insisted that the restrictions, which are policed with Egyptian co-operation, are necessary so as to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas.
In an angry letter to Security Council President Gerard Araud, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, added that the officials who wrote the document “conveniently failed to mention that Hamas has brutally hijacked Gaza and deliberately targets Israeli civilians in relentless rocket attacks.”
Defending the report however, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Maxwell Gaylard noted that Gaza could not return to economic progress and prosperity unless trade, communication and contact was established with the rest of the world.
“An urban area cannot survive without being connected,” Gaylard said, pointing to the difficulty of improving the situation in the region given "the closure of the Gaza Strip, violent conflict, and the pressing need for Palestinian reconciliation.”
According to the report, Gaza’s population will increase from 1.6 million people today to 2.1 million people in 2020, resulting in a density of more than 5,800 people per square kilometre.
“The substantial population growth rate will thus add some 500,000 people to a living area which is restricted and already heavily urbanized,” it states.
If the region does not respond to Gaza’s plight immediately, “the daily lives of Gazans in 2020 will be worse than they are now,” the report went to say.
Read the Full Report Here