The Gaza Strip, ravaged by wars and nearly a decade of a grueling Israeli blockade, could become uninhabitable for residents within just five years, the United Nations development agency said Tuesday.
“The social, health and security-related ramifications of the high population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza unliveable by 2020,” the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) wrote in its annual report.
Gaza, a tiny enclave of just 362 square kilometers squeezed between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea that is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians, counts one of the highest population densities in the world.
While the high density is not new, the situation has been exacerbated by three Israeli military operations in the past six years and nearly a decade-long economic blockade.
The blockade had “ravaged the already debilitated infrastructure of Gaza, shattered its productive base, left no time for meaningful reconstruction or economic recovery and impoverished the Palestinian population in Gaza,” the report said.
“Short of ending the blockade, donor aid… will not reverse the ongoing de-development and impoverishment in Gaza,” it said.