Rebuilding All Destroyed Gaza Homes Could Take 80 Years, U.N. Report Says

Rebuilding All Destroyed Gaza Homes Could Take 80 Years, U.N. Report Says

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Rebuilding all the homes destroyed by Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip could take until the next century if the pace of reconstruction were to match what it was after wars there in 2014 and 2021, according to a United Nations report released on Thursday.

Citing data from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the U.N. report said that as of April 15, some 370,000 homes in Gaza had been damaged, 79,000 of which have been destroyed. If those destroyed homes were rebuilt at the same pace as they were after the two previous wars — an average of 992 per year — it would take 80 years, according to projections in the report from the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.

The report detailed the war’s socioeconomic impact on the Palestinian population and said “the level of destruction in Gaza is such that the required assistance to rebuild would be on a scale not seen since 1948” to replace public infrastructure, including schools and hospitals.

The report said that even if Israel were to allow five times as much construction material into Gaza after this war as it did after the war in 2021 — “the most optimistic scenario” — rebuilding all of the destroyed homes would still take until 2040. That projection does not account for the time it would take to repair the hundreds of thousands of homes that were damaged but not destroyed.

The cost of rebuilding Gaza is increasing “exponentially” each day the fighting continues, Abdallah Al Dardari, the director of the U.N.D.P.’s regional bureau for Arab states, speaking over a video call from Amman, Jordan, said at a news conference on Thursday.

Mr. Al Dardari said that before “some sort of normalcy” can be established for Palestinians in Gaza, an estimated 37 million tons of debris must be cleared to allow for the construction of temporary shelters and, eventually, the rebuilding of homes.

The report also found that the unemployment rate for Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza surged to roughly 46 percent from about 26 percent after six months of war.

Over those six months, poverty rates in the Palestinian territories more than doubled, to an estimated 57.2 percent from 26.7 percent. That means 1.67 million Palestinians were pushed into poverty after the war began, the report said. Its estimates were based on a poverty line of $6.85 a day.

The effects of the war on Palestinians both in and out of Gaza “will be felt for years,” the report said.

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