A new United Nations report says Gaza could be “uninhabitable” in less than five years if current economic trends continue.
The report released by the UN Conference on Trade and Development points to the eight years of economic blockade of Gaza as well as the three wars between Israel and the Palestinians there over the past six years.
Last year’s war displaced half a million people and left parts of Gaza destroyed.
The war “has effectively eliminated what was left of the middle class, sending almost all of the population into destitution and dependence on international humanitarian aid,” the new report says.
Gaza’s GDP dropped 15% last year, and unemployment reached a record high of 44%; 72% of households are food insecure.
Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade of Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.
The report comes as Egyptian military bulldozers press ahead with a project that effectively would fill Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip with water and flood the last remaining cross-border smuggling tunnels, which have brought both commercial items and weapons into Gaza.
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