Under the Auspices of Prime Minister Al Hamdallah
UNDP begins removing rubble in Gaza, with funding from Sweden
Jerusalem, 12 November 2014 – His Excellency Prime Minister Rami Al Hamdallah witnessed the signature of a USD 3.2 million agreement with the Government of Sweden and UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People to begin the removal of rubble and debris in the Gaza Strip.
H.E. Al Hamdallah highlighted that the project is a positive step that paves the way for Gaza’s reconstruction, particularly during the winter season and the harsh conditions the people are living in.
UNDP estimates that around two million tonnes of rubble have been generated during the 51 day Israeli military operation on Gaza, which is three times more than the amount of rubble generated during Cast Lead.
Through the Swedish contribution, UNDP will immediately begin clearing around 140,000 tonnes of rubble in hard hit areas, starting with Al Shijaaiyah. Clearing and crushing of rubble will take one year and will generate approximately 25,000 workdays.
“The situation in Gaza is alarming after the devastating war this summer, especially with winter approaching,” said Ann-Sofie Nilsson, Consul General of Sweden. “There is a need for rapid support to the Government of National Consensus in its efforts to kick-start the reconstruction. We are pleased to contribute to alleviate somewhat the difficult situation” she added.
Moreover, 78,000 tons of rubble will also be re-used to prepare Johr Al Dik landfill as a crushing site. The rubble, once crushed, will be used to rebuild homes and infrastructure.
The removal of rubble is an important start in helping the Gaza population get over the recent destruction. The project will enable around 100,000 residents to have access to basic services, reduce the risk of collapsing buildings and the threat of UXOs and other remnants of war.
UNDP welcomed the initiative by the Government of Sweden to be the first donor country to contribute with USD 3.2 million out of approximately USD 20 million to the rubble removal project in Gaza. UNDP, in partnership with the Government of National Consensus, is seeking support from other donor countries to fill in the gap.
UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, Frode Mauring highlighted the importance of clearing the rubble as a prerequisite for rebuilding to start. “UNDP is committed to making a difference and improving the livelihoods of the Gaza population. The project will provide much needed work but without the blockade being lifted homes will not be rebuilt and economic growth will not materialize,” he added.
The signing ceremony took place at the Prime Minister’s office in Ramallah on 12 November 2014 in the presence of H.E. Prime Minister Rami Al Hamdallah, H.E. Ann-Sofie Nilsson, Consul General of Sweden, and Mr Frode Mauring, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator.
It is worth noting that the 51-day conflict has resulted in the destruction of over 18,000 housing units, leaving approximately 108,000 people homeless. UNDP’s response to the Gaza crisis includes enhancing livelihoods through emergency employment, rubble removal, repairing essential infrastructure, restoring solid waste services and providing institutional support towards a unified civil service and institutional harmonization.
Dania Darwish, Communications Specialist, Tel. +972-2-6268229 – e-mail: email@example.com. For more information on UNDP/PAPP see http://www.ps.undp.org.