Life in Gaza
By Yara Younes
With a population of nearly 2 million including 1.17 million minors, 262,000 under the age of 5, 1.17 million living in poverty, and an unemployment rate of 62%, Gaza has one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world.
According to B’TSELEM an Israeli Information Center for Human Rights In The Occupied Territories, “ninety-seven percent of Gazans are connected to the public water-supply system,” which is undrinkable due to the 50–80 million liters of untreated sewage that is dumped in the sea each day.
Gaza also suffers shortages in electricity which is needed to pipe water through the system. People in Gaza require about 600 megawatts of electricity to receive power 24/7, yet they only receive 180 megawatts. Therefore residents only receive power for about 4–8 hours a day.
In March 2018 during the Great March of Return protests, 215 Palestinians including 47 children were killed while posing no imminent threat to life.
October 30, 2019, the Israeli army sentenced an Israeli soldier who shot dead 15-year-old Palestinian Othman Halas during the Great March of Return protest in Gaza to community service.
The Great March of Return protests had psycho-social consequences, especially on those who sustained physical disabilities during the protests, those who were exposed to extreme violence, especially children, and those who lost family members. In 2020, an estimated number of 22,500 children will need psycho-social support.
Israel controls access to Gaza via air, land and sea, while the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border, has been closed by the Egyptian government.
Both Israel and Egypt have largely cut off the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza while 54% of Gazans are food insecure and over 75% are dependent on aid.
Back in September 2020 two fishermen Mahmoud and Hassan al-Zaazo were killed by the Egyptian navy for allegedly crossing territorial waters, the two brothers were shot dead while fishing trying to provide for their families. According to OCHA, 35% of Gaza’s farmland and 85% of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible due to Israeli military measures.