Wed, 22 Sep 2021

GAZA, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) warned on Sunday of the shortage of raw materials to launch reconstruction in the Gaza Strip.

Director of UNRWA in Gaza Sam Rose said in a press statement that the lack of raw materials for starting the reconstruction plan "was due to the closure of the only commercial crossing between Gaza and Israel."

"Reconstruction in the Gaza Strip has not started yet, and we, like many others, are deeply concerned over the continued Israeli closure of the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing point," he said.

On Sunday, Israel started to ease restrictions that had been imposed on the Gaza Strip since the last round of tension that lasted for 11 days and ended on May 21.

Ghassan Alian, chief of the Coordination of the Government Activities in the Territories, said in a statement that "it will be possible to bring equipment and goods to Gaza, including materials for projects funded by the international community in the areas of food, water, medicine, and fishing."

Rose stressed the need to reach beyond the humanitarian relief through the commercial crossing between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to support the reconstruction process in Gaza.

The last round of fighting left more than 250 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead, in addition to the large destruction of houses, buildings and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

"Some materials such as cement, concrete and iron are not available in the local markets of Gaza," Rose said, adding that the shortage of raw materials stops and delays the reconstruction process.

In June, UNRWA launched an appeal to obtain the necessary funds for reconstruction to serve the Palestinian refugees in Gaza that constitute the majority of the population.

According to the Gaza ministry of housing and public work, 1,200 housing units were completely destroyed in the last round of fighting in the Gaza Strip, adding that 1,000 housing units are badly damaged and not suitable for living.

The reconstruction of the housing units will cost about 165 million U.S. dollars, it added.

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