This is what we’re paying for

Months after the Gaza war, the people there are still struggling to regain dignity.

Fafo, founded by the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions in 1982, has released a devastating report:

The Gaza Strip is characterized by widespread physical damages, but six weeks after Israel’s attack ended, renovation of houses in need of repair had barely started due to dire economic circumstances and the lack of building materials.

Pessimism toward the future is rampant. Three in ten families said they would be able to secure basic needs in the coming months, and only one in ten anticipated an improved household economy.

The population displayed symptoms suggesting considerable post-war trauma. For example, 13 % of the population suffered from sleeping problems the week preceding the interview and for a majority (10 % of all individuals) the onset of the problem was during or after the war. Further, 15 % of children aged 5-14 had acquired a bed-wetting problem with the Israeli assault, which also had triggered concentration difficulties for 21 % of children at the same age.

These and other statistics stem from a multi-topic household sample survey that was implemented to collect data to document the living conditions in the Gaza Strip in the wake of Israel’s assault on 27 December and the ensuing armed conflict. It was thought that a fairly rapid assessment would benefit everyone concerned with post-war reconstruction and aid of various sorts.

Through interviews with more than 2,000 households, the survey covered issues such as displacement during the war and damages caused by it, people’s economic situation, needs and concerns, their health and psycho-social status. The fieldwork was implemented from 3 to 12 March 2009, and face-to-face interviews were carried out at 132 fieldwork locations spanning the entire Gaza Strip.