Connect with us
Every man, woman and child of the Gaza Strip – nearly 1.8 million people – has been directly affected by the recent escalation in conflict and needs some form of humanitarian aid. This is the third such conflict in six years and the most destructive since the start of the Israeli occupation in 1967. During seven weeks of intense violence, from 7 July to 26 August, more than 2 100 Palestinians died (70 percent of them civilians) and nearly 500 000 fled their homes. Approximately 110 000 remain displaced and nearly the entire population lacks adequate access to clean water, health care and electricity.
The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture estimates damages to the agriculture sector at over USD 500 million, around double the total for Operation Cast Lead in 2009. Households dependent on agricultural livelihoods – including 24 000 families of farmers, herders and fishers – suffered debilitating damage and losses. This includes virtually all types of assets needed to make a living from agriculture and supply markets with local food, such as farmland, greenhouses, wells, herds, animal sheds, boats, fishing gear and food processing plants.
The vast majority of people in Gaza could not provide sufficient food for themselves before the crisis (although food was available in markets, they were unable to afford it). Around 72 percent of families were food insecure or vulnerable to food insecurity, 66 percent received food assistance, 70 percent lived on less than USD 2 per day and 45 percent faced unemployment (up from 28 percent the previous year). As a result of the conflict, households in Gaza face immense odds – including the destruction of their homes and the loss of productive assets – and require immediate support to recover their livelihoods in an extremely challenging environment.
The protection and promotion of resilient livelihoods must begin immediately to reverse the de-development of Gaza and contribute to sustainable peace. The first 100 days of emergency response will lay the foundation for long-term reconstruction efforts in Gaza. A twin track approach to emergency and development should be adopted to accelerate the transition from post-war assistance to the restoration of sustainable livelihoods. Recent calculations by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency suggest that reconstruction under current restrictions will require a minimum of 15 years. In addition, the agriculture sectors of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank should be recoupled to enhance growth and development through an expanded market, economies of scale and a diversified supply chain.
Within the Gaza Crisis Appeal, FAO seeks to rapidly protect and restore conflict‐affected livelihoods. Funding is urgently needed to help farmers rehabilitate their land and resume cultivation, while also repairing irrigation networks and wells. FAO aims especially to engage women in small-scale domestic livestock and vegetable production activities, so they can produce fresh produce, dairy, meat and eggs and rapidly increase their disposable income and dietary diversity. FAO also seeks to assist fishers returning to sea through the repair of fishing boats and gear. Support to herders will include the provision of animal feed, water storage units and veterinary supplies, in addition to restocking their animals and repairing damaged shelters.