Estimate for Rebuilding Gaza Is Staggering

Best case is $40 billion over 16 years
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2024 7:15 PM CDT
Minimum for Rebuilding Homes in Gaza: 16 Years and $40B
Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike on residential buildings and a mosque in Rafah, Gaza, on Feb. 22.   (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)

Israel's bombardment of Gaza over the past seven months has left many high-rise concrete buildings in rubble, creating what a United Nations official called a "moonscape" of destruction. Palestinian statistics show that about 80,000 homes have been destroyed since the strikes began after Hamas fighters attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, Reuters reports. Another 370,000 have been damaged, per the Guardian. UN experts have tried to assess what rebuilding the destroyed homes will entail: Best case is 16 years and $40 billion.

The 2040 projection only holds if construction materials are delivered five times as fast as they were in 2021, the last Gaza crisis. If the schedule is more like it was after other recent conflicts, the United Nations Development Program report says, it could take "approximately 80 years to restore all the fully destroyed housing units." On top of that, a UN assessment of satellite images found that 85% of schools have been damaged and that over 70% of schools will need major construction, if not rebuilding. The director of the UN program for Arab states made an appeal Thursday for $100 million to start the rebuilding and for a plan to administer Gaza from "the day after" the war ends.

"Imagine if there's a ceasefire tomorrow and we will need six more months at least to have a plan and start implementing," Abdallah al-Dardari told the Guardian. "Those six months will be very dangerous." The report said this level of destruction of housing hasn't occurred since World War II, per the AP. "Every additional day that this war continues is exacting huge and compounding costs to Gazans and all Palestinians," said Achim Steiner, administrator of the UN program. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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