Gaza could become uninhabitable for residents within just five years, the United Nations development agency claimed on 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 (about 225 square miles) 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.
“Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current economic trends persist,” the report said.
UNCTAD blamed the worsening situation on three wars with Israel in the past six years, declining to mention those wars were all provoked by the Hamas terror group which controls Gaza, as well as Israel’s blockade of the enclave for security reasons. Egypt also has maintained a blockade on Israel.
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.
Socio-economic conditions in Gaza today, the report said, are currently “at their lowest point since 1967,” when Israel won control over the territory in the Six-Day War after being attacked by five Arab armies, including Egypt which had controlled Gaza since 1948.
AFP contributed to this report.