1. Home
  2. Middle East and North Africa
  3. Palestine

Slice of life in Gaza

With more than 50 percent unemployment in Gaza, sifting through rubble for metal has become for some a means of getting by
With more than 50 percent unemployment in Gaza, sifting through rubble for metal has become for some a means of getting by (Suhair Karam/IRIN)

When Israel pulled its occupying troops out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, many thought it would be the start of a new era for the 1.5 million residents of this tiny territory, just 40km long and 10km wide.

However, Israel continued to control Gaza’s borders, air space and waters, and in mid-2007 imposed an economic blockade after the Islamic resistance movement Hamas took over the government, and rockets continued to be fired into Israel.

Since then the Strip's population has been relying on just a fraction of the imported supplies it received in December 2005, causing severe shortages of medicines, fuel and construction materials, among other items. 

See slice of life in Gaza photogallery

Israel only allows in basic humanitarian items and bans virtually all exports, paralyzing the economy and causing the deterioration of sewage treatment systems, as well as waste collection, water supply and medical facilities.

The UN has repeatedly called for the lifting of the blockade on humanitarian grounds.

From 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009 Israel went to war with Hamas in Gaza after an escalation of violence between the two sides. Over 1,000 Gazans were killed, more than 5,000 wounded, over 50,000 were displaced, and over 4,000 homes totally destroyed.

Gazans are still picking up the pieces from last year’s war and there are high levels of poverty, deprivation and unemployment. With the imminent completion of an Egyptian above-and-below-ground steel barrier to prevent a thriving tunnel economy between Egypt and Gaza, residents are worried they will become almost completely reliant on aid.

IRIN’s photogallery offers a glimpse into life on the Strip.


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

Share this article
Join the discussion

We uncovered the sex abuse scandal that rocked the WHO, but there’s more to do

We just covered a report that says the World Health Organization failed to prevent and tackle widespread sexual abuse during the Ebola response in Congo.

Our investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation triggered this probe, demonstrating the impact our journalism can have. 

But this won’t be the last case of aid worker sex abuse. This also won’t be the last time the aid sector has to ask itself difficult questions about why justice for victims of sexual abuse and exploitation has been sorely lacking. 

We’re already working on our next investigation, but reporting like this takes months, sometimes years, and can’t be done alone. 

The support of our readers and donors helps keep our journalism free and accessible for all. Donations mean we can keep holding power in the aid sector accountable, and do more of this. 

Become a member today and support independent journalism

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.