Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020: UN | News | DW | 02.09.2015
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Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020: UN

The United Nations has said that living in the Gaza Strip could become impossible by 2020. High population density and low security due to conflict with Israel are the reasons why the area could become uninhabitable.

A new report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Tuesday said the Gaza Strip could be uninhabitable for residents in the next five years.

"The social, health and security-related ramifications of the high-population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza unlivable by 2020," UN officials said in their report.

Gaza is a tiny enclave of about 362 square kilometers (around 225 square miles) between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. It is home to about 1.8 million Palestinians and has one of the highest population densities in the world.

Living conditions in the area have been exacerbated by three Israeli military operations in the last six years, including the one in 2014, in which 2,200 Palestinians were killed. The economic blockade, in place since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, banned exports from the territory and blocked imports of anything but the most basic humanitarian goods.

UNCTAD said that the economic embargo "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."

Around 72 percent of all households in the conflict zone were facing food insecurity and around 868,000 Palestinians were relying on food packets from the UN.

The UN report came as Egyptian military bulldozers press ahead with a project that effectively would fill its border with the Gaza Strip with water - flooding the last of the underground tunnels that bought commercial goods and weapons to the Palestinian territory.

mg/jr (AFP, AP)

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