The primary cause of this ‘unliveable’ environment is a highly restrictive Israeli blockade, now in its 13th year, which has reduced Gaza to the point of ‘systemic collapse’.
In 2012, the United Nations published an alarming report on the future of the Gaza Strip warning that by 2020, without urgently needed remedial action, the territory would no longer be a ‘liveable place’. The report added: ‘There will be virtually no reliable access to sources of safe drinking water, standards of healthcare and education will have continued to decline, and the vision of affordable and reliable electricity for all will have become a distant memory for most’.
These dire forecasts of a creaking infrastructure unable to meet the needs of two million Gazans have been sadly realised. According to Save the Children, 90% of Gaza’s drinking water is unfit for human consumption, electricity is available for just 2-4 hours per day, water-borne diseases are spiking, health and emergency services are breaking down and fresh food is unavailable because of a lack of refrigeration.
With over 108 million litres of untreated sewage discharged daily into the Mediterranean Sea, over 60% of the sea is contaminated and the ground water increasingly compromised with pollutants. Gaza has truly become an unliveable place and, yet, two million Gazans are forced to live in what is famously described as the world’s largest open air prison.
Blockade of Gaza
The primary cause of this ‘unliveable’ environment is a highly restrictive Israeli blockade, now in its 13th year, which has reduced Gaza to the point of ‘systemic collapse’. Ostensibly imposed on the basis of a security protocol following the election of a Hamas government in Palestinian elections in 2006, Amnesty International believes that Palestinians in Gaza are being ‘collectively punished’.