Restoring access to land in Gaza’s restricted area along the perimeter fence

Farmers start to replant their land in Beit Hanoun. Photo by the International Committee of the Red CrossFarmers start to replant their land in Beit Hanoun. Photo by the International Committee of the Red Cross

This area was one of the hardest hit during the 2014 hostilities

Lands in this area were amongst the hardest-hit in last summer’s conflict, with over twothirds of homes destroyed or damaged, and up to 1,800 hectares of agricultural lands affected. Other key physical infrastructure, such as electricity lines, irrigation systems, wells, reservoirs, greenhouses, and warehouses, as well as agricultural equipment and supplies, were severely impacted. Faced with this situation, the majority of farmers did not have the means to rehabilitate their land or purchase seeds.

This programme is an expansion of the first restoration of agricultural land in the border area, which was carried out immediately after the 2014 hostilities. In 2014, 730 hectares of damaged agricultural land up to 1.5km from the border were levelled, and 15 kms of agricultural roads were repaired, benefiting over 1400 affected farmers. More than 1,350 farmers in this area received wheat and pea seeds, with expected harvest of 2,000 metric tons, and received pesticides or assistance to control Red Palm weevil pest, and 410 farmers who lost their houses received cash payments to start irrigated farming.

Due to the presence of explosive remnants of war, ICRC teams also worked with concerned authorities to facilitate their safe clearance. This year, 300 hectares of land were levelled in preparation for the November rainy season; soon those lands will be ploughed so that farmers will be able to sow their crops. In addition, 222 damaged greenhouses located east of Salah Al Deen Road were restored, and two elevated concrete reservoirs, 4.6 km of water pipes, and three metallic irrigation pools and water distribution points are being established to help farmers reconnect to water sources. In areas like Musader, Deir Al Balah, Wadi Salqa, Abassan Kabeera and Abassan Jadeeda, the programme will soon begin rehabilitating roads so that farmers can reach their lands with greater ease.

* This article was contributed by the International Committee of the Red Cross.