Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

UN: Gaza Reconstruction to Cost $40 Billion

Fri 03 May 2024 | 11:05 AM
Israa Farhan

The United Nations announced yesterday that the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip is estimated to cost between $30 to $40 billion due to the massive and unprecedented scale of destruction after 7 months of war.

Abdullah Dardari, the Assistant Secretary-General of the UN and Director of the Regional Office for Arab States at the UN Development Programme, stated in a press conference in the Jordanian capital, Amman, that reconstruction in the Gaza Strip is a highly costly issue that will take a long time.

He noted that its cost is estimated at around $18 billion according to satellite imagery of the destruction, but this is not the final value on the ground.

Dardari added that the initial estimates of the UN Development Programme for rebuilding everything destroyed in Gaza exceed $30 billion and reach up to $40 billion.

It is a task that the international community has not dealt with since World War II. Discussions on financing reconstruction have been held with Arab countries, and there are extremely positive signals so far, without providing further details.

He pointed out that relying on traditional frameworks for reconstruction means it may take decades, and the Palestinian people do not have the luxury of decades, so it is important to quickly provide housing for people in decent homes and to restore their normal economic, social, health, and educational lives during the first three years after the ceasefire.

Negotiations mediated by Arab and American parties have not yet led to an agreement on a ceasefire or cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, where 34,596 people were killed in Israeli airstrikes accompanied by ground operations, according to Palestinian medical sources.

Dardari reiterated that the total rubble accumulated in Gaza so far amounts to 37 million tons, considering this figure immense and escalating daily, with the latest data indicating it is approaching 40 million tons.

He continued, saying that 72% of residential buildings were completely or partially destroyed, while human development in Gaza, including health, education, economy, and infrastructure, has regressed 40 years. Forty years of efforts and investments have gone to waste.

He considered that the most dangerous stage is when the ceasefire stops, and we are not prepared. Therefore, we must be ready and prepared to provide decent temporary housing, remove rubble, and deal with thousands of bodies under this rubble.

In addition to the reconstruction process, the UN official spoke about the psychological effects of the war on civilians, stating that our estimates of the number of people in need of psychological care are 400,000 people, and this estimate is at its minimum.

Mounir Tabet, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), said at the conference that the destruction is massive and frightening.

He added that the education and health sectors were almost completely destroyed. He also noted that the economy in the Gaza Strip lost 81% of its size in the last quarter of 2023.

The situation is very difficult, and the scale of human and infrastructural destruction is unprecedented, requiring unprecedented efforts from us.