Days of Palestine, Gaza Strip –Oxfam International has said the donors’ money, pledged in Cairo donor conference, would take decades to reach the Strip.
“The bulk of money pledged at the global donor conference to rebuild Gaza will languish in bank accounts for decades before it reaches people,” Oxfam said in a press release.
It said that the money could help the people of the Gaza Strip if “long-standing Israeli restrictions on imports are lifted.”
Donors from 50 countries at the conference pledged $5.4billion, half of them for rebuilding the houses, schools and other facilities destroyed by the Israeli occupation during the latest 51-day war on the Strip.
Oxfam said that “under current restrictions and rate of imports it could take more than 50 years to build the 89,000 new homes, 226 new schools and the health facilities, factories and water and sanitation infrastructure that people in Gaza need.”
Pressure on ‘Israel’ needed
Oxfam Regional Director Catherine Essoyan said: “Unless donors step up pressure to end the blockade, many children made homeless by the recent conflict will be grandparents by the time their homes and schools are rebuilt.”
According to Oxfam, during the 51 days of Israeli war, “massive destruction was caused to lives, livelihoods and essential services. More than 100,000 people remain homeless and 450,000 without running water.”
“Aid agencies are providing desperately needed emergency assistance, but long-term reconstruction and development requires more than money,” Essoyan, “these will be empty pledges unless donors also ensure that this aid can actually be delivered.”
Essoyan also warned that the people in Gaza are to suffer too much unless the rebuilding starts very soon. “Winter is coming and people without homes cannot afford to wait,” she said.
Commenting on the news that the Israeli blockade on Gaza was eased, Oxfam said: “Reconstruction require around 700,000 truckloads of construction materials including aggregates, cement and steel bars.
“In the first half of 2014, an average of around 1,100 truckloads was permitted to enter Gaza each month.
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At this rate it would take more than 50 years to import enough construction material.”
No more wars needed
Calling for putting an end for the Israeli attacks on Gaza, Oxfam said “the international community must act now to ensure that this is the last time we have to rebuild Gaza, and to take a long-term approach to ending the crisis.”
Essoyan said: “We cannot let this terribly costly and wasteful cycle of destruction continue. This is the third time in six years that the international community is pledging to rebuild Gaza after a war. It is time to address the root causes of this conflict once and for all.”
She added: “We need to ensure people in Gaza have their rights as well as aid.”