Saturday, February 7, 2009

Rubble Removal Urgently Needed to Restore Services in Gaza

United Nations Development Program, Jerusalem (via Palestine Chronicle), February 6, 2009 - The 22 days of intense military operations in Gaza resulted in massive destruction to public as well as private buildings and housing units. An initial survey, conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that over 14,000 homes, 68 government buildings and 31 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been totally or partially damaged. As a result, UNDP estimates that 600,000 tons of concrete rubble will need to be removed.

“This is a top priority,” said Jens Toyberg-Frandzen, UNDP Special Representative in the Occupied Palestinian territory. “The rubble is mixed with poisonous harmful materials and may include unexploded ordnances. It needs to be urgently removed to protect the lives of Palestinians in Gaza and to facilitate immediate access to basic humanitarian and social services.”

Rubble removal was included in the UN Flash Appeal, launched on Monday. Once funding is secured, UNDP will clear rubble, demolish and clean-up sites of damaged buildings, and identify and remove unexploded ordnances. The project will also generate 200,000 workdays for unemployed Gazans.

The UN Flash Appeal outlines the needs arising from the recent fighting in Gaza and requests urgent funds to allow the UN and partners to restore basic social services and public utilities such as water, health, education, food and emergency repairs of critical infrastructure.

Out of US$613 million requested in the Flash Appeal, UNDP funding needs total $49.3 million, more than half of which is allocated for rubble removal. Other projects focus on reviving the agriculture sector and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the water reservoirs in the Gaza Strip....

In order for UN agencies to meet the formidable challenges, essential items must be allowed into Gaza, including construction materials, pipes, electrical wires and transformers, in addition to other key equipment and spare parts. Removing Israeli restrictions on the movement of people and goods into Gaza will help rebuild the lives and livelihoods of the Palestinians living in the area.

No comments: