WAR ON GAZA 2023: an unprecedented and devastating impact

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ESCWA Report on Gaza War 

War on Gaza 2023: an unprecedented and devastating impact

The United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Waster Asia (ESCWA) has compiled a report on the war in Gaza and its devastating impact on Palestinian lives.
The report analyses two of the crucial aspects of this war: the socioeconomic context of Gaza prior to the war, characterized by occupation, blockade and recurrent military escalations; and the immediate and long-term consequences of the war with a focus on multidimensional poverty.

The first session of the paper provides an overview of conditions in Gaza before the outbreak of the latest conflict in October 2023.In terms of context, the brief highlights that the blockade imposed on Gaza since 2007 is the most severe manifestation of Israel’s longstanding policies of restricting the mobility of Palestinians.
Another critical element is the recurrent military escalations which have led to de-development in the enclave and have shifted the focus of dwindling aid from development to humanitarian efforts. The combined effects of the blockade and recurrent military escalations have led to social and economic de-development and created a perpetual humanmade humanitarian crisis.

Although the international community tried to manage the consequences of the previous military escalation through humanitarian aid, it did not focus on the root causes of the conflict.This, combined with the general trend of dwindling international aid, has contributed to trapping Palestinians in a spiral of dependency and de-development.

As the blockade and other restrictions led to worsening conditions in Gaza over the years,international efforts to alleviate the impact and resulting suffering and to foster recovery have been undermined by recurrent military escalations.

Analysing, specifically, the socio-economic situation of the country, the outbreak of the conflict in October 2023 would, predictably, have led to an exacerbation of the pre-war situation in terms of poverty that affect (and will affect) a significant share of the population for years to come.
The gross domestic product per capita (calculated in USD dollars) is in progressing decreasing since 2000s. “For years, Gaza had been witnessing a downward socioeconomic spiral illustrated by the fact that, in 2022, GDP per capita stood at $1,256, down from $1,972 in 2000.

This is one of many indicators of the dire situation in which the Gazans lived prior to 7 October,” highlighted ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti. “The international community now has a compelling responsibility to ensure flow of sufficient amounts of critical humanitarian aid to Gaza,” she stressed.

The war is affecting all the aspects of the Palestinians lives:Health: thousands of casualties, significant damage to and destruction of medical facilities and infrastructure, a lack of electricity, and dwindling water and medical supplies have crippled the healthcare system in Gaza

  • Water and energy supplies
  • Deconstruction of essential infrastructures
  • Repercussions on the education system
  • Housing: 42% of housing units in Gaza is uninhabitable
  • Personal freedom: people are restricted to access basic lifesaving services
  • Monetary resources: majority of the families struggle to afford necessities, including food and clean water.

In terms of economic, by day 16 of the war, more than 96 per cent of the Gazan population had become multidimensionally poor, based on ESCWA estimates. In other words, almost all the 2.3 million Palestinians residing in the enclave are multidimensionally poor and require basic necessities for survival.

The report concludes by analysing the long-term impact of the conflict; even if the war ended today, the floodgates were fully opened for humanitarian aid, school activities resumed and the poverty rate reduced more than 69 per cent of the Gazan population would still be living in multidimensional poverty, and the average intensity of deprivation would be 49 per cent.
The reason for this is that many critical indicators of the national MPI will not immediately bounce back to their pre-war levels.

At the same time, statistics show that, most probably, the moment the war ends, there will be a significant reduction in deprivation across many key indicators, notably school enrolment (deprivation reduced from 100 to 50 per cent), access to frequent water supplies (from 90 to 40 per cent), access to health services (90 to 30 per cent) and unrestricted movement (from 90 to 20 per cent).

To summarize, the current war will have a prolonged impact on human capabilities in Gaza for years to come, but a ceasefire and flow of humanitarian assistance would produce a tangible immediate reduction in the deprivation level for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian families.

Original report available here: 

https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/war-gaza-unprecedented-and-devastating-impact-enar 

By Giulia Mascia

 

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