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18 months on, Gaza donors still falling way short

Palestinians inspect the remains of a house which was destroyed during an air strike in Central Bureij refugee camp, in the Middle Area of the Gaza Strip.
(Shareef Sarhan/UNRWA)

Only 40 percent of the $3.5 billion donors pledged in October 2014 for Gaza's reconstruction has been delivered, new World Bank figures reveal.

That's an increase of only $159 million since the last time the World Bank issued data on the donations in August 2015, and major pledgers continue to fall short: Qatar has given only 15 percent of its $1 billion pledge; Saudi Arabia 10 percent of its $500 million promise; and the UAE just 15 percent of the $200 million it pledged. Kuwait has dispursed none of its $200 million pledge.

The World Bank estimates that if donor funding continues to come in at this sluggish pace, pledges will be fulfilled in mid-2019, almost two years behind schedule.

The 2014 war between Israel, Hamas and other Islamist militants killed 2,000 Palestinians - mostly civilians - 66 Israeli soldiers, and six civilians in Israel. Some 11,000 homes were completely destroyed and another 6,800 severely damaged.

Last week, the UN's emergency aid coordination body OCHA announced that as of its last survey in February, 90,000 Gazans are still displaced as a result of the fighting.

Experts say that reconstruction has been slow due to limited donor money, Israeli restrictions on imports, and poor governance in Gaza. OCHA estimates that as of February 2016 only 16 percent of homes destroyed in the war have been rebuilt.

as/ag

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