"My grand children don’t feel safe. They look at the cracks in the walls and keep asking me why we have to stay in this house - it is about to fall on us." Um Ahmed - Mother of five children in Gaza whose house was bombed
After nine years of Israeli blockade, 1.8 million Palestinians continue to be trapped in the Gaza Strip, largely cut off from the outside world. They need your help.
Two years on from the onset of the 2014 war life for many people in Gaza is getting worse. The reconstruction process is slow, there is no permanent ceasefire, no meaningful peace talks, and the blockade is still firmly in place. The humanitarian needs remain enormous. Gaza has witnessed its worst destruction in decades and an already vulnerable civilian population has been left even more vulnerable.
More than 100,000 people (more than half of these children) have had their homes destroyed, 75,000 still displaced. 96 per cent of water supply is unsafe to drink and there are power cuts of 12 hours a day. Restrictions on essential building materials mean that only 9.7 per cent of homes have been rebuilt. The blockade prevents most people from leaving Gaza or trading with the outside world and markets in the West Bank. Fishermen and farmers are restricted from accessing their land and often shot at while working. The economy has been devastated, with more than 60 per cent of youth now unemployed - the highest rate in the world.
More than 300,000 children and youth were left extremely traumatized by the conflict - many of them lost relatives, homes and live in daily fear of renewed bombing. Last year's conflict will affect an entire generation of Gaza for years to come. Oxfam condemns all violence against civilians. A permanent ceasefire, accountability of all parties for ongoing violations of international law, and an end to the Israeli blockade are needed urgently.
The blockade of Gaza
The blockade - now in place for nine years - has devastated Gaza's economy, left most people unable to leave Gaza, restricted people from essential services such as healthcare and education, and cut Palestinians in Gaza off from those in the West Bank. More than 43% of people in Gaza – more than 60% of youth - are now unemployed. The highest unemployment rate in the world. 80% of people rely on humanitarian aid.
Many key industries, such as the construction industry, have been decimated as essential materials are not allowed into Gaza. Of the 23,500 homes left in need of reconstruction by 2014 hostilities, only 4,180 have been rebuilt. Exports fell to less than 15% of their pre-blockade levels, with heavy restrictions on the transfer of agricultural produce and other goods to Palestinian markets in the West Bank.