Almost one year later, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) still await durable solutions
According to the most recent damage assessment of the summer 2014 hostilities in the Gaza Strip, some 12,576 housing units were totally destroyed and 6,455 housing units severely damaged. In total, over 19,000 units were rendered uninhabitable. This has resulted in an estimated 100,000 IDPs who are currently accommodated with host families, in rented apartments, prefabricated units, makeshift shelters, or in their heavily damaged homes. Nearly 150,000 additional units sustained various degrees of damage but remained inhabitable. Most of the destruction and damage occurred in Gaza governorate, followed by the North, Khan Yunis, Middle Area and Rafah, with over 80 per cent of the housing units destroyed or damaged belonging to refugees.
Temporary solutions are designed to bridge the gap between emergency assistance and permanent reconstruction. These include transitional shelter cash assistance (TSCA), the completion of partially finished buildings, accommodation in collective centres, prefabricated caravans and temporary shelters. Some 15,200 households have received TSCA in the form of rental or hosting allowance, but 11,500 received this cash for rent for only four months and 3,750 households until the end of 2015. Around 75 per cent has been provided through UNRWA for affected refugee families, and the rest through UNDP, of which some US$11 million has been made available for TSCA.
The number of households receiving cash assistance for partially damaged housing totals over 70,383, almost all provided by UNRWA. In addition, 2,208 households have received cash assistance for severely damaged housing (1,841 UNRWA; 367 UNDP). Some $216 million has been pledged to the $720 million required for UNRWA’s emergency shelter programme, leaving a shortfall of $504 million.
The Shelter Cluster estimates that over 122,000 housing units need to be built to meet Gaza’s housing needs, including the reconstruction of destroyed and severely damaged homes and to address natural growth needs. The Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM), which has been operational since September 2014, allows families whose homes have been assessed to purchase restricted building materials from designated private sector vendors. As of 17 June, 95,143 individuals requiring materials for shelter repairs had been cleared to purchase materials under the GRM. Of these, over 90 per cent have so far procured full or partial quantities of their allocated construction material. However, almost one year after last summer’s conflict, not a single totally destroyed home has been rebuilt in Gaza; initial works on the ground are expected to start over the second half of 2015.
Housing units affected during 2014 hostilities by governorate, scope of damage and family status
Source: Shelter Cluster Palestine, Factsheet May 2015.
* This piece originally appeared in OCHA’s May 2015 Humanitarian Bulletin.