Reconstruction opens an opportunity for proper urban planning
Post-conflict reconstruction in other contexts proves that the process is as important as the end result.[iii] Some promising projects are currently underway: UN-Habitat, in partnership with the NRC and the Palestinian Housing Council, has engaged in participative spatial planning in the heavily damaged area of Khuza’a, including consideration of future development needs. In Beit Hanoun, the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, with support from the Italian Development Corporation Agency (AICS), is implementing a positive example of community-based participative planning for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of over 200 units in An-Nada and the neighbouring Al-Izba community, and the rehabilitation of 19 partially damaged buildings.
Extensive reconstruction implemented within a reasonable timeframe, and providing a durable solution to the plight of displaced people, is essential to reduce vulnerability, enable the realization of human rights, and to avoid an environment conducive to a new round of violence. However, addressing complex problems takes both time and human and financial resources. Alongside consideration of key HLP issues, other measures required include the removal of restrictions on imports of building materials and equipment; a solution to the internal Palestinian divide to allow the relevant Palestinian authorities to discharge their government functions effectively; the involvement of affected populations in the reconstruction of their community; and expedited disbursement of funds pledged by donors for the reconstruction of Gaza.
Status of home reconstruction
By the end of March 2016, about 17 per cent (3,000) of the approximately 18,000 homes destroyed or severely damaged had been reconstructed or repaired following cash assistance from UN agencies or other international support.[iv] It is estimated that 75,000 people remain displaced. The repair and reconstruction of an additional 3,700 homes, or 21 per cent of the caseload, is currently ongoing. Funding has been confirmed for some 5,100 homes (28 per cent of the caseload) to be repaired or reconstructed in 2016, leaving a funding gap for 5,991 homes, or about 34 per cent of the caseload.
Findings of IDP registration and vulnerability profiling survey released
In April, OCHA published the key findings of an inter-agency re-registration and vulnerability profiling survey carried out from mid-August to December 2015 among internally displaced persons (IDPs). The survey targeted over 16,000 households whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged during the 2014 hostilities and collected detailed information on their current living conditions and needs. The full results of the survey have been made available to all relevant actors in a unified database that is intended to enhance humanitarian coordination, programming and advocacy.
* This section was contributed by the Norwegian Refugee Council on behalf of the Shelter Cluster
[i] NRC Factsheet 4: Reconstruction in Shuja’iya neighbourhood, Gaza Housing Land and Property Rights series, April 2015
[ii] This concept was widely adopted after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. It constitutes the reconstruction of communities in a manner that addresses underlying vulnerabilities and makes communities less vulnerable to disasters by strengthening resilience as part of the reconstruction process.
[iii] “The tendency…was for government, donors and the media to focus on the number of houses constructed as a measure of achievement. However, the most successful programmes acted as a catalyst for recovery… paving the way for future development.”Lessons from Aceh, p. 9.
[iv] Shelter Cluster Palestine: Shelter Cluster Monthly Report, March 2016.