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UN agencies caution that the Gaza conflict may lead to an increase in poverty.
Middle East World News

UN agencies caution that the Gaza conflict may lead to an increase in poverty.

The report from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) examines the initial social and economic consequences, cautioning that poverty may increase and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may decrease by 8.4%, equivalent to a loss of $1.7 billion.

Expressing sadness over the loss of lives, pain, and continuous devastation, the United Nations agencies emphasized the importance of a ceasefire and consistent provision of humanitarian assistance as a crucial initial measure.

Increasing levels of impoverishment, unparalleled devastation

While the situation in Gaza is the main focus, its impact is also being felt in the West Bank, as well as in Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt.

Prior to the outbreak of hostilities on October 7th, approximately 1.8 million individuals in the State of Palestine were already experiencing poverty. If the conflict persists for another month, this number could increase by 34%, resulting in an additional 500,000 people living in poverty.

Nowhere to go

According to reports, an unprecedented number of housing units have been destroyed in Gaza, with 35,000 completely demolished and 212,000 partially damaged. This exceeds the damage done to housing in Syria after four years of conflict.

The population of Gaza is more than two million, with almost 1.5 million people currently displaced within the region.

The Executive Secretary of ESCWA, Rola Dashti, stated that if the conflict continues, many people in Gaza may be left without a place to live, a permanent residence, or a safe haven. She made this statement from the organization’s headquarters in Beirut.

She stated that an alarming 96% of Gaza’s population is currently experiencing extreme lack of necessary resources and has entered a state of multidimensional poverty.

Decrease in Gross Domestic Product and employment reductions.

According to Abdallah Al Dardari, the Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States at UNDP, the Palestinian economy has suffered a 4% decline in GDP in a single month, with a loss of 390,000 jobs.

According to the speaker, nearly half of UNDP’s initiatives in Gaza have been demolished. This includes health facilities, solar energy facilities, water treatment facilities, and support centers for private enterprises, small businesses, and women.

He went on to say that the loss of human development is even more significant.

“Following a two-month conflict, Palestine, including Gaza, would suffer a setback of 16 years in terms of progress in human development, healthcare, education, infrastructure, and economic growth. This would be a significant setback, effectively taking Palestine back to the state it was in 2005.”

The journey to regaining health is a gradual one.

Due to the widespread displacement in Gaza caused by the ongoing war and the significant damage to homes, it is predicted that the economy will worsen, making it even more difficult for the already dire humanitarian crisis to improve and recovery to be slow.

Ms. Dashti encouraged the global community to come together and facilitate long-term peace.

She stated that throughout history, it has been proven that without lasting peace, everyone involved in the conflict will not only experience more casualties in the future, but their chances for long-term development will also be at risk. Additionally, their hard-earned achievements in economic growth and social progress will be diminished.