With one of the highest birth rates in the world and over 60 percent of its population under age 18, Gaza is in constant need of new housing. But since 2006, Israel has blocked the importation of materials needed to construct homes, creating a housing and building crisis.
This crisis also impacts other sectors, notably education and health, since new schools and medical facilities cannot be built to meet growing needs.
This situation is compounded by the destruction caused by repeated Israeli military attacks on Gaza. During the 2014 attack on Gaza, over 17,800 homes were destroyed or severely damaged to the point of being uninhabitable. As of August 2016, only 30 percent of those homes had been rebuilt, and over 65,000 people remained displaced. An additional 150,000 homes that were damaged remained inhabitable. Two years after the attack, less than half of these homes had been repaired.
It isn't only homes that cannot be repaired and rebuilt. Schools, hospitals, businesses, and key infrastructure remain in ruins or unusable because of restrictions on the import of building materials under Israel's blockade.
- Around 17,800 housing structures were severely damaged or destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the 2014 assault on Gaza. Two years later, only 30 percent had been rebuilt.
- Two years after the end of the 2014 attacks, over 65,000 residents displaced by the war have still not been able to return home.
- Prior to the 2014 attacks, there was already a shortage of at least 75,000 housing units in Gaza, largely as a result of building stoppages caused by restricted imports.
- Israel has a list of items banned from entering Gaza, including building materials such as wooden planks, rebar, cement, pipes, and adhesives. The list does not comply with international standards for identifying "dual use items," which could be used to produce weapons.