1.8 million more Palestinians are doomed to poverty if Gaza war continues — Global Issue
The unprecedented destruction in the Palestinian Gaza Strip will push more than 1.8 million people into poverty if the war continues. Credit: Ashraf Amra/UMRWA
  • Written by Noreen Hossain (united nations)
  • interpress service

Last week, UNDP and the Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) released the latest version of their joint report, “Gaza War: Expected Socio-Economic Impact on the State of Palestine”, first published in November 2023. The report predicts that if the war lasts three months, the Palestinian state will lose more than 12 percent of its GDP and the poverty rate will increase by more than 25 percent, an indicator of the losses the Palestinian state would suffer. results of war.

The latest report reveals the losses Palestine is expected to incur after nine months of conflict. With projections estimating the war to last up to nine months, poverty rates could exceed 60 percent. An additional 1.8 million people have fallen into poverty in Palestine since the start of the war, UNDP Arab States Regional Director Abdallah al-Dadali explained to reporters.

According to UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI), Palestine is projected to decline significantly in six months’ time, reaching 0.677 compared to 0.716 in 2022, which would set back human development by 17 years. This will only decrease based on certain indicators, such as lower life expectancy, lower gross national income (GNI), and fewer years of schooling.

In the Gaza Strip alone, under this scenario the development setback would extend over 30 years, with a decline of 0.598 percent in 2023 compared to 0.705 percent in 2022. If the war lasts nine months, the HDI is likely to decline. This brings Gaza back to his 1980s.

Almost all economic activity in Gaza has declined sharply since the start of the war, with all major sectors reporting significant losses in the final quarter of 2023, the report said. This is having ripple effects throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. Palestine’s unemployment rate reached 57% in the first quarter of 2024, with more than 507,000 jobs lost across Palestine, including 160,000 workers in the West Bank.

Palestine’s GDP may also decline by 22.5 percent in 2023 and by a further 51 percent in 2024. The war will undoubtedly exacerbate socio-economic costs and impact post-war reconstruction and development across Palestine.

“If the fighting continues every day, it will only increase the cost of reconstruction,” al-Dadali told reporters during a virtual briefing. Since the war began in October 2023, destruction and damage to physical infrastructure amounted to $341.2 million in education (schools and universities), $503.7 million in laundry, and $553.7 million in health facilities. , directly impacting the provision of basic needs in Gaza. . The report states that foreign aid for the reconstruction and restoration of basic service infrastructure is essential to re-establishing these services and that it will take decades and considerable time to restore Gaza’s socio-economic conditions to pre-war levels. It points out that financial resources are needed.

More than 30 hospitals in Gaza have been destroyed and more than 400 schools and universities completely or partially destroyed by military shelling since the war began.

Mr. Al Dadari stressed the importance of bringing immediate emergency aid to Gaza to support the introduction of emergency shelters. He said the three-year program would cost up to $3 billion, and the total cost to rebuild lost infrastructure in the long term ranged from $40 billion to $50 billion. Efforts will be needed to remove a reported 37 million tons of debris in Gaza to make room for necessary temporary emergency shelters and facilities.

In addition to addressing the immediate needs of civilians in the Gaza Strip, UNDP will also focus on developing a reconstruction plan with the full support of the United Nations and its agencies. “Our main concern is to be ready to provide shelter and necessary services at any time. That is what we are doing with resource mobilization,” Al Dadari said.

“Unlike previous wars, the destruction in Gaza today is unprecedented in scope and scale, coupled with the loss of housing, livelihoods, natural resources, infrastructure, and institutional capacity that will persist for decades to come. “This could have serious and systemic consequences.” ESCWA Executive Director Laura Dashti.

UNDP Director Achim Steiner said: “Unprecedented levels of human loss, capital destruction and soaring poverty in such a short period of time will precipitate a serious development crisis that threatens the future of generations to come.” Ta.

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© Inter Press Service (2024) — All rights reservedSource: Interpress Service

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