Rebuilding begins in Gaza 1 year after destruction
45-year-old Belal Khalil Sa’adat is the owner of a damaged residence in Beit Hanoun. Sa’adat’s family home is one of the 3,463 non-refugee houses totally destroyed during the 2014 war on Gaza, and is also one of the first homes to be rebuilt.
“My three-storey building was destroyed during the last war. Now, my family and my father’s family of 20 members are renting a home nearby with hope to go back to our home again.” Belal said. “Every morning, my sons used to leave the rented house and come here, to their destroyed home. They could not accept the fact that their home is destroyed.”
- USAID and the Governments of Sweden and Japan fund UNDP’s Rubble and Debris Removal project for USD 14 million.
- 410,000 tons of rubble have been removed by the project in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of 2015.
- Rubble was removed from 498 locations and buildings enabling the reconstruction to begin in different areas of Shujayia, Gaza City, Middle Area, Rafah and Khan Younis.
- UNDP housing damage assessment conducted in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Works and Housing and the Palestinian contractors Union, estimates that 31,324 non-refugee housing units were damaged during the 2014 hostilities. 3,463 housing units sustained total damage, while 1,524 were severely damaged and 26,337 were partially damaged.
The rubble removal project implemented by UNDP in Gaza has paved the road for the first group of totally damaged units to be rebuilt. Until recently, repairs were only made to homes that were partially damaged, while 18,000 totally destroyed houses remain in ruins. On Wednesday 22 July 2015, Palestinian housing minister Mufid Al-Hasayneh laid a brick for the first Gaza home to be rebuilt since the last war a year ago.
UNDP is currently implementing a USD 14 million rubble removal programme that aims at removing one million tons of the rubble generated by the 2014 conflict in the Gaza Strip. UNDP has been moving rapidly in clearing the rubble in order to provide Gaza residents with access to basic services, reduce the risk of collapsing buildings and the threat of UXOs and other remnants of war. Once crushed, the rubble will be recycled and used for road rehabilitation in the Gaza Strip.
Belal was listed as a beneficiary from the Qatari housing project, but in order for them to go ahead with the reconstruction, the rubble has to be removed. UNDP removed the rubble of Belal’s house within a week of his application to the Ministry of Public Works and Housing. He is one of the 510 beneficiaries who received approval to start the reconstruction process, and is one of the 300 who will be supported through UNDP’s rubble removal programme.
Belal says, “When the rubble was removed, I was very happy as I believe this is the first step for reconstruction. And it was true! Now, it is as if I am dreaming. My children do not want to eave the location of their destroyed home and look forward for the reconstruction to end. UNDP did us a great service by removing the foundations and destroyed bells. This alone could have cost us around USD 600 a day”.