Rebuilding Gaza: Will PA and EU become more involved?
With the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are asking when and how reconstruction of the battered coastal enclave will begin. United Nations workers in Gaza say that 55,000 refugees are still taking shelter in 41 UN schools, raising questions about how the school year will begin in two weeks, already delayed from its scheduled opening in August.
Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah told representatives of several international organizations that the PA will repair homes that have been partially destroyed and will rent homes, as well as secure temporary homes and even tents, for displaced people. It was the first sign that the PA will take a more active role in Gaza, which has been controlled by Hamas since 2007. In the spring, Hamas and Fatah announced a unity government, but it has not met or functioned since the fighting began soon after the announcement.
A report by Shelter Cluster, which is co-chaired by the United Nations Relief and Works Authority (UNRWA) and the Red Cross, found that 17,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged in the seven weeks of fighting. An additional 5,000 homes still need repair from previous rounds of fighting while, even before the latest conflict started, there was a deficit of 75,000 homes. According to Shelter Cluster, at the rate of 100 trucks with building materials crossing the border into Gaza, it would take 20 years to rebuild the densely populated strip.
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