Tuesday, February 24, 2009

UNDP Survey: Attitudes and Perceptions of Gazans in the Wake of the War

ReliefWeb, February 24, 2009 - The UNDP has issued a 73-page report detailing attitudes and circumstances of Gazans in the wake of the war. Titled "Inside Gaza: Attitudes and perceptions of the Gaza Strip residents in the aftermath of the Israeli military operations," the report's stated aim is:

....to [rapidly] provide local and international organizations, authorities, donors, and decision-makers with baseline information from a people’s perspective on the current living conditions, needs, damages, and destruction in the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the Israeli military operations....

The voices and views of the people in the Gaza Strip in the current context are of critical importance: although they are at the centre of events that are mostly beyond their control, they are currently facing the consequences, and they will be the core beneficiaries of the reconstruction efforts. Therefore, throughout this report, UNDP/PAPP aims to provide a comprehensive snapshot, from a human perspective, about the main issues and challenges faced by Gazans today. These issues range from poverty and unemployment, security, damages and needs for assistance to health-related issues, and main challenges faced by the youth.

The 7-chapter report is based on a large-scale public opinion survey of over 1,800 households conducted between 25 January and 1 February 2009. It covers:
  • Poverty
  • Unemployment
  • Security
  • Damages
  • Needs for assistance
  • Health-related issues,
  • Main challenges faced by the youth
A few key findings are cited below. See the full, much more detailed, report at the link.

  • Only 8% of households are still above the poverty line, however they are at high risk of falling into poverty.
  • For 72% of families, coping mechanisms for dealing with poverty have been exhausted.
  • Unemployment levels in the labour force increased from 36% to 43%.
  • Of the fully employed, 28% belong to households with a monthly average income that falls below the poverty line.
  • Over 1 million Gazans, 75% of the Gazan population, feel insecure due to (i) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (42%); (ii) Israeli control over borders (27%) which prevents movement of persons and goods; and (iii) inter-Palestinian tensions.
  • Nearly 40% of the surveyed households were displaced as a result of the war.
Needs and Assistance
  • Largest household needs: Security (by far), distantly followed by food, electricity, and employment
  • Largest community-level needs: Security, followed by food, social cohesion, and employment
  • Less than one-fifth of households in the Gaza Strip received assistance during the war
  • Most important sources of assistance: UN agencies (39%); charities (19%);
    Arab governments (13%); international NGOs (8%)
  • Over 60% of the households in Gaza currently need assistance.
  • The most-needed types of assistance are: psychosocial support (25% of households); financial (17%); food aid (16%)

45% of households across the Gaza Strip reported damages to their residences as a result of the recent Israeli military operations, including:
  • Shattered windows (67%)
  • Damage from bullets or artillery shells (16 %)
  • Damage to main structure (12%)
  • Complete collapse: (3%)
Youth and children
  • 49% of survey respondents view psychosocial support as the most important need for children in their households. Reported signs of stress in children, such as anxiety, aggressive behaviour, lack of interest in socializing, bedwetting, and nightmares, have tripled and in some cases quadrupled since the recent Israeli military operations.
  • 71% of Gazans consider the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to be the main source of violence against children in the Gaza Strip, while 17% continue to see the lack of internal security as the main source of violence.
  • The inability of parents to meet the care and protection needs of their children has more than doubled since the Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip: from 26% to 64%.
  • In 82% of households, most adults need psychosocial support.
Health care
  • During the war, 37% of households were in need of primary health care but more than one-fourth could not access these services.
  • 14% of households surveyed include at least one disabled member. Physical impairment is prevalent with 16% of reported disabilities being conflict-related. Households with disabled persons need: (i) rehabilitation and mobility skills (22%); (ii) financial assistance (20%); (iii) aids, devices, and technologies (17%); (iv) adapted employment (11%); (v) access to education for those with special needs (9%); and (vi) psychosocial support (6%).

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