At least US$15 billion needed for Gaza housing, says Palestinian official

DAVOS: At least US$15 billion will be needed to rebuild houses in Gaza, the head of the Palestine Investment Fund said on Wednesday (Jan 17), underlining the scale of devastation caused by Israel’s offensive.

Chairman Mohammed Mustafa said international reports indicated 350,000 housing units had been completely or partially damaged in Gaza.

Assuming 150,000 of these would need to be rebuilt at an average cost of $100,000 per unit, “that’s US$15 billion for housing units”, he said.

“We still didn’t talk about infrastructure, we didn’t talk about the hospitals that were damaged, the grids,” he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The figure points to reconstruction costs that will dwarf previous bills for rebuilding Gaza after earlier conflicts, with the war not yet over more than three months since it began.

Following a 2014 war between Hamas and Israel, which lasted seven weeks and killed 2,100 Palestinians, Qatar spent over US$1 billion on housing and relief projects in Gaza.

Israel has laid waste to much of the territory in a campaign which health authorities in Hamas-run Gaza say has killed 24,448 people since Oct 7, when the Palestinian group ignited the war by storming Israel, killing 1,200 people and abducting 240 more, according to Israeli tallies.

Figures released by the Hamas-run media office in Gaza show more than 360,000 housing units have sustained severe or partial damage, and more than 70,000 have been completely destroyed.

Mustafa said the Palestinian leadership would, in the short term, continue to focus on humanitarian aid including food and water, but eventually the focus would shift to reconstruction.

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