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World Bank: Infrastructure damage in Gaza exceeds $18 billion

Washington – Together – A new joint report by the World Bank and the United Nations, prepared with financial support from the European Union, estimated that the cost of damage to buildings and vital infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is approximately $18.5 billion, equivalent to 97% of the gross domestic product of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Gaza together for the year 2022.

The World Bank said that the ‘Interim Damage Assessment’ report used remote data collection sources to estimate the damage to physical infrastructure in vital sectors between October 2023 and the end of January 2024.

The report concludes that damage to infrastructure facilities and installations affects all sectors of the economy, as residential buildings constitute 72% of the cost, while infrastructure for public services such as water, health, and education constitutes 19%, and damage to commercial and industrial buildings constitutes 9%. of this cost.

‘The rate of damage appears to have plateaued for many sectors, with few assets st
ill intact,’ the statement said. ‘The destruction has left a huge amount of debris and rubble estimated at 26 million tons that may take years to remove and dispose of.’

The report also addresses the impact on the population of Gaza, as more than half of them are on the brink of famine, the entire population suffers from severe food insecurity and malnutrition, more than a million people are homeless, and 75% of the Strip’s population has been displaced.

He added: Women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities have been exposed to the greatest degree of catastrophic cumulative effects on their physical, psychological and mental health, with younger children expected to face consequences that will affect their growth and development throughout their lives.

The UN report states that with 84% of hospitals and health facilities damaged or destroyed, and a lack of electricity and water to operate the remainder, residents have access to only the minimum level of health care, medicines, or life-saving
treatments.

The water and sanitation system also almost collapsed, according to the report, and now provides only less than 5% of its previous services, forcing residents to rely on very small water rations to survive. As for the education system, it has collapsed, as 100% of children are out of school.

The report also indicates the impact on electricity networks and solar energy production systems, and indicates an almost complete power outage since the first week of the conflict. With 92% of main roads destroyed or disabled, and communications infrastructure deteriorating, delivering basic humanitarian aid to the population has become extremely difficult.

The ‘Interim Damage Assessment’ report identifies the main actions for early recovery efforts, most notably increasing humanitarian aid, food aid and food production, providing shelter centers and rapid, comprehensive and cost-effective housing solutions for those who have been displaced, in addition to resuming the provision of basic services to the po
pulation.

The World Bank said that the initial damage assessment report in the Gaza Strip relies on remote data collection sources and analyzes to provide a preliminary estimate of the damage to physical buildings in Gaza as a result of the war, in accordance with the rapid assessment of damages and needs methodology.

He added that a rapid and comprehensive assessment of damages and needs will be conducted to fully estimate economic and social losses, as well as financing needs for recovery and reconstruction, and it is expected that the cost of damages, losses and needs estimated through the comprehensive rapid assessment will be much higher than the cost of the interim damage assessment.

Source: Maan News Agency