Government Seeks to Collect $4 Billion for Gaza Reconstruction

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RAMALLAH, September 20, 2014 – (WAFA) – Palestinian Government estimates that Gaza reconstruction will cost at least $4 billion; an announcement that was made following the Council of Minister’s approval of the National Gaza Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan.

According to a press release issued Saturday by the Palestinian Government Media Center, the National Gaza Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan was drawn up by the Higher Ministerial Committee in charge of rebuilding Gaza, which is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa, who serves as Minister of National Economy, in addition to a technical committee comprising 20 ministries, local institutions and over 200 experts.

“We seek international support in order to achieve our ambitious vision to rebuild Gaza through the donor conference that will be hosted in Cairo on October 12,” said Mustafa and confirmed that ‘we will make Gaza much better than before.’

The latest 51-day-long Israeli onslaught on the strip left unprecedented destruction. The cost of infrastructure reconstruction and rehabilitation is estimated at $1.9 billion, which accounts for about half of the total reconstruction cost, while the cost of rebuilding homes and neighborhoods flattened by Israeli bombing and repairing damaged ones is estimated at over $2 billion.

Mustafa affirmed that about 18% of Gaza homes have been partially or fully destroyed, which has displaced over 108,000 Palestinians. ‘As winter approaches, the provision of shelters for these people becomes a top priority that should be immediately addressed,’ stressed Mustafa.

The Palestinian government estimates that the sum of $700 million is required to support and meet the humanitarian, social, health and educational needs of tens of thousands of Palestinians who have lost their homes, livelihoods and families’ members  during the latest onslaught on Gaza. This has caused the numbers of the poor, the needy, the internally-displaced persons (IDPs), the disabled and the orphans to steadily increase. The government is proceeding as expeditiously as possible to reactivate the education and health services in response to the urgent needs of the IDPs and seeks to improve these services to respond to old and emerging needs.

“Revitalizing economy and spurring productivity is a priority for the government. The government program aims to earmark approximately $1.2 million for enabling productive economic sectors to improve and operate, provide food, basic commodities and job opportunities and partake in Gaza reconstruction,” said Mustafa.

The National Gaza Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan estimates that the government requires $200 million to support governance sector, boost the operational capacities of government and local government institutions to ensure that Palestinian citizens’ needs are effectively met.

The plan is based on a a rapid assessment for the damages that has been undertaken recently by working groups involving ministries, international organizations and private sector in Gaza.

Taking this assessment into consideration, Mustafa emphasizes that before the latest onslaught, Gaza was already suffering from blockade and frequent attacks for seven years and that is why the Gaza reconstruction estimations are over three-folds of Gaza 2008 offensive estimations.

The National Gaza Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan involves taking and implementing many steps and projects over three phases, starting with direct response phase and ending with economic rejuvenation and reconstruction phase. The government and international agencies have started the response phase since the latest onslaught was launched on the strip.

“We are currently implementing priority steps ahead of the Gaza reconstruction conference through building bridges for economic recovery,” added Mustafa.

‘We jointly launched, last week, an assistance program in cooperation with the UN to respond to the current housing crisis and we will meet this week with the private sector in order to identify the initiatives required for spurring early recovery. We are committed to enhance the citizens’ access to basic services, such as water and energy,” added Mustafa.

Mustafa noted that the government welcomed the UN new proposal to facilitate the entry of construction materials into Gaza for reconstruction, describing this step as ‘positive’. Nevertheless, he pointed out that this is only the first step as “it would be impossible to rebuild Gaza without completely lifting the Israeli blockade.

“We will complete our job, seeking to open the border crossings, facilitate the entry of all imports and exports and enable our people to freely move.”

Source: WAFA