Blockade leaves Gaza trapped in isolation and poverty

By agency reporter
July 8, 2016

Two years after war devastated large parts of the Gaza strip, claiming more than 1,500 civilian lives, Israel’s blockade stifles recovery for 1.8 million Palestinians living in the region.

William Bell, Christian Aid’s advocacy and policy officer, said: “Two years on recovery has barely begun. The blockade has stifled recovery efforts, deepened poverty and ensured a sense of despair amongst the trapped and isolated population” 

Due to the restriction on the movement of people and goods into Gaza, including essential items such as fuel and building material, only 10 per cent of homes destroyed in the conflict have been rebuilt and more than 80 per cent of the population is still dependent on aid.  Unemployment remains the highest in the world and residents face chronic water and electricity shortages. 

Mr Bell continued: “Israel’s blockade of the strip, which is now entering its tenth year, and Egypt’s border closure have created a serious and deepening humanitarian crisis, which collectively punishes Palestinians who live there.

“Cut off from the outside world and suffering extreme hardship, the international community is failing in its duty to both protect an innocent civilian population and work intensively with all parties to achieve peace with justice and security for all.

“Christian Aid calls for an end to the blockade to ensure that the population of Gaza can begin to recover and rebuild their lives and a commitment from all parties to stop and prevent any targeting of civilians. Without urgent effort, hope and confidence in a future free from violence is hard to imagine.”

During the 50 days of war, in the summer of 2014, Christian Aid partners worked tirelessly delivering emergency supplies including water, food and lifesaving medical support to affected families.  

Mr Bell added: “Christian Aid is proud of its partners in Gaza who, despite the pressures, continue to serve the communities in which they live. On a recent visit with church leaders we met with farmers who had been supported by Christian Aid to adapt and plant new fast yielding cash crops where their previous livelihoods had been destroyed.

“We also witnessed the tireless work of psycho-social counsellors helping children to tackle the pain and fear caused by prolonged violent conflict and think about how they can build a peaceful future.”

Christian Aid partners continue to be there for the people of Gaza; providing healthcare, shelter, water and sanitation as well as helping hundreds of farmers and their families restore damaged lands and help them make a living.  Christian Aid partner CFTA continues to provide psychosocial support, in the form of art, drama, writing and discussion forums for children and young people to help process the trauma they experienced as a result of the conflict of summer 2014 and the blockade.

* Christian Aid www.christianaid.org.uk/index.aspx

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