More than 4,036 houses in the Gaza Strip were totally destroyed or beyond repair in the aftermath of Israel’s 23-day conflict with Hamas from 27 December 2008 to 17 January 2009, according to an April 2009 UNRWA and UN Development Programme assessment.
Rebuilding these homes has been almost impossible because Israel has not allowed cement and building materials into Gaza since June 2007, saying they could be seized by Hamas for military purposes.
The UN has repeatedly called for the lifting of the blockade on humanitarian grounds.
See Gaza mud brick houses slideshow
International donors pledged US$4.5 billion in aid for the Palestinian Authority, much of it specifically for Gaza, at a conference in Egypt in March 2009, but little has reached the Strip because of the continuing blockade and bitter divisions between political parties Hamas and Fatah.
Those made homeless in last year’s war have squeezed in with relatives, rented apartments or made do in their damaged homes, aid workers said.
A new project by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) aims to build around 120 mud brick houses for dozens of homeless families in the next few months. Each house costs about US$10,000 and takes three months to build.
While the houses offer better conditions than tents and can stand for 100 years, they are not meant as a long-term solution, UNRWA said.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
Hundreds of thousands of readers trust The New Humanitarian each month for quality journalism that contributes to more effective, accountable, and inclusive ways to improve the lives of people affected by crises.
Our award-winning stories inform policymakers and humanitarians, demand accountability and transparency from those meant to help people in need, and provide a platform for conversation and discussion with and among affected and marginalised people.
We’re able to continue doing this thanks to the support of our donors and readers like you who believe in the power of independent journalism. These contributions help keep our journalism free and accessible to all.
Show your support as we build the future of news media by becoming a member of The New Humanitarian.