Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The High Human Cost of the 2014 Gaza Conflict

Updated August 30, 2014

In a previous posting, I've been providing my readers with a daily update from the statistics provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

To give us a sense of how costly this conflict has been, here is a graph showing the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) that are currently in 41 United Nations shelters and how that number grew rapidly, particularly in the past three days as hostilities resumed:

At one point, there were 90 UNRWA shelters for Palestinian IDPs. 

When the conflict initially broke out, UNRWA was not anticipating that they would have to shelter more than 50,000 people.    At last count (August 30, 2014), the United Nations was sheltering  55,849 IDPs in schools, down from the pre-ceasefire peak of 292,959 in the third week of August.  UNRWA estimates that there were a total of 460,000 internally displaced persons or one quarter of the population in the Gaza Strip.  With the massive destruction of the living spaces, particularly in the no-go zone, it will be a long time before nearly half a million people are able to return to what is left of their homes.

Here is a graph showing the number of injured Palestinians which has not been updated since early August:

This data is provided to the United Nations by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.  At last count on August 10, 2014, 9875 Palestinians had been wounded during the conflict.

Here is a graph showing the number of Palestinians killed during the conflict:

The last tally shows that 2104 Palestinians were killed, 1462 or 70 percent of which are civilians.  This compares to 64 soldiers and three civilians killed on the Israeli side of the ledger.  Of the Palestinians killed, 495 were children and 253 were women.  Of the Palestinians killed, 265 are believed to be militants.

In addition, UNRWA estimates that the cumulative number of housing units that have been destroyed or severely damaged is 10,800, 70 percent higher than the hostilities in 2008 - 2009.

The cost of the conflict has been very high and with 85 schools being used as shelters for IDPs and 79 suffering damage, it was impossible for the school year to begin as planned on August 24, 2014.  UNRWA estimates that it will need a total of $295.4 million to provide emergency aid to 500,000 displaced persons.  At this point, close to $150 million has been pledged.  Reconstruction will be difficult because of the closed border between Israel and Gaza which does not allow for the transit of construction materials.

If you want to get a sense of what the situation looks like in parts of the Gaza, here is a video showing the destruction of Khuzaa.  If you skip ahead to about 23 minutes, you will see what Khuzaa looks like after it was besieged by the IDF:


Now that parts of the Gaza have been bombed back to the Stone Age, it will be interesting to see who (if anyone) steps up to provide aid and how long it takes for the aid to arrive.

1 comment:

  1. ...it will be interesting to see who steps up to provide aid...". With many countries declaring Hamas a terrorist organization, this could be complicated. Will any aid be interpreted as aiding Hamas? thus exposing aid organizations to legal risk?