A snapshot of Gaza by the numbers:
- Movement in and out of Gaza is all but impossible and supplies of food, water, sewage treatment, basic health care have been drastically affected by the blockade of aid. Food prices are rising and wheat, flour, baby milk, and rose 34%, 30%, and 20.5% respectively during the period May-June 2007 alone.
- Prior to the blockade (implemented after Hamas took over total adminstration over Gaza in June 2007), around 250 trucks carrying aid entered Gaza each day.
- As of March 2008, that number was reduced to 45.
- According to UN figures reported in the Guardian, that number dropped to just 5 in December.
- Most recently, the Israeli government prevented a Libyan ship carrying 3000 tons of aid from entering Gaza.
Poverty and Dependency on Food Aid
- Number of people living in absolute poverty in Gaza in 2008: 80%
- Number of people living in absolute poverty in Gaza in 2006: 63%
- In 2007, households were spending 62% of their income on food.
- In 2004, households were spending 37% of their income on food.
- As of March 2008, there were over 1.1 million people—three quarters of Gaza—who are dependent on food aid. In less than ten years, the numbers of families who depending on UNRWA food aid has increased ten-fold
- In June 2005, there were 3,900 factories in Gaza employing 35,000 people.
- In December 2007, there were just 195, employing only 1,700.
- Unemployment is close to 40%.
- 40,000 agriculture works who depend on cash crops now have no income.
- In September 2000, 24,000 Gazans crossed into Israel to seek cheap labor. Now that number is zero.
Schools, Electricity, Medical Supplies
- In January 2008, UNICEF reported that schools in Gaza had been cancelling classes that required high energy consumption like IT, science lab, and extra-curricular classes.
- Hospitals cannot generate electricity to keep lifesaving equipment working or to generate oxygen, while 40-50 million liters of sewage continues to pour into the sea daily.
- Hospitals are currently experiencing power cuts lasting for 8-12 hours a day.
- There is currently a 60-70 percent shortage reported in the diesel required for hospital power generators.
- According to the World Health Organization, the proportion of patients given permits to exit Gaza for medical care dropped from 89.3% in January 2007 to 64.3% in December 2007.
- Many of those who are given permits are blocked at the crossing itself. In October 2007 alone, the WHO confirmed that 20 patients died because they were denied access to refereal services. Five of these deaths were children.
In speaking about the current wave of violence, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev pledged that Israel will “destroy completely” the “terrorist gang.”
But the facts show that much more than a “terrorist gang” is being destroyed in Gaza.
(Unless otherwise indicated, all facts in this post are from the report “The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian implosion” co-authored by Amnesty International, Oxfam, Medcins de Monde UK, CAFOD, Save the Children UK, TroCAIRE, CARE, and Christian Aid).