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
Help make quality journalism about crises possible
The New Humanitarian is an independent, non-profit newsroom founded in 1995. We deliver quality, reliable journalism about crises and big issues impacting the world today. Our reporting on humanitarian aid has uncovered sex scandals, scams, data breaches, corruption, and much more.
Our readers trust us to hold power in the multi-billion-dollar aid sector accountable and to amplify the voices of those impacted by crises. We’re on the ground, reporting from the front lines, to bring you the inside story.
We keep our journalism free – no paywalls – thanks to the support of donors and readers like you who believe we need more independent journalism in the world. Your contribution means we can continue delivering award-winning journalism about crises.