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"Empty words": Despite promises of help, 100,000 are still homeless in Gaza

A new report by 46 agencies lays bare the current situation.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

A YEAR ON from the deadly conflict, thousands are still homeless in Gaza – and enough isn’t being done to help them.

That’s according to 46 agencies – which include ActionAid, Christian Aid and Oxfam – in a new report Charting a New Course: Overcoming the stalemate in Gaza.

They say that the international community must “urgently change its approach” to Gaza and deliver on promises of reconstruction.

The report details what the agencies say is a lack of progress since last year’s conflict.


Since the temporary ceasefire, violence against civilians has continued, with more than 400 incidents of Israeli fire into Gaza and four rockets fired from Gaza into Israel.

The report calls on all parties to immediately resume long-term ceasefire negotiations.

Keeping Gaza separated from the West Bank has “entrenched the already problematic split between Fatah and Hamas,” with “enormous negative impact” on the delivery of aid and services in Gaza, says the report.


Six months ago, donors pledged $3.5 billion towards Gaza’s recovery.

But the report says that many people are worse off and not a single one of the 19,000 destroyed homes has been rebuilt.

100,000 people are still homeless and many are living in makeshift camps or schools.

The report warns that further conflict is inevitable unless world leaders implement a new approach that addresses the underlying causes of the conflict.

It says that Gaza donors must insist on a permanent ceasefire, accountability of all parties for ongoing violations of international law.

They also want an end to the Israeli blockade.

According to the agencies, rather than challenging the blockade, the report found that most donors are accepting ways to work around it.

Oxfam Ireland’s Chief Executive Jim Clarken said:

The promising speeches at the donor conference have turned into empty words. There has been little rebuilding, no permanent ceasefire agreement and no plan to end the blockade. The international community is walking with eyes wide open into the next avoidable conflict, by upholding the status quo they themselves said must change.

William Bell of Christian Aid said that “we must ensure that this most recent and most devastating conflict was the last one”.

There must be consequences for continued violations.

Moira O’Leary of ActionAid echoed their comments, saying: “The people of Gaza have suffered for long enough under an eight-year blockade, and three wars in the past six years.”

Only 26.8% of money pledged by donors six months ago has been released so far.

The agencies say that even when funded, many reconstruction projects have not yet begun due to restrictions on essential material under the blockade.

Most of the 81 health clinics and hospitals that were damaged still lack funds for reconstruction, but the few that have funds do not have the material needed to proceed.

Recently, donors have managed to achieve some small increase in the flow of construction material, but the agencies say it is not enough to meet needs.

The report sets out recommendations to the international community, including ways to:

  • Speed up reconstruction
  • Ensure all parties are held accountable for violations of international law
  • End the blockade and rehabilitate Gaza’s shattered economy
  • Support the development of a unified Palestinian government. 

Read: Palestinian rocket fire amounted to ‘war crimes’ – Amnesty International>

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