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Gaza not 'livable' by 2020, UN report

United Nations warns that without action, lack of basic services will make living in Gaze untenable.

Gaza blockade 2012 03 06Enlarge
Before Hamas' take-over of the Gaza Strip in 2007, the territory’s exports totalled 86 truckloads a day on average, with more than 85 percent of its products going to the West Bank. (CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)

The contested Gaza Strip will not be a "livable" place in 2020, says a new United Nations report. 

Unless humanitarian conditions improve, Gaza's growing population will have inadequate access to water, power, healthcare, and education. 

“Gaza will have half a million more people by 2020 while its economy will grow only slowly. In consequence, the people of Gaza will have an even harder time getting enough drinking water and electricity, or sending their children to school,” said Maxwell Gaylard, a UN humanitarian coordinator. 

After Hamas was elected in the territory and took power in 2007, Israel, backed by Egypt, blockaded Gaza, devastating the local economy. Gaze has no airports or seaports for trade.  

But in 2010, Israel relaxed their sanctions, and according to Reuters, "real GDP is estimated to have risen by 28 percent in the first half of 2011 as unemployment fell to 28 percent in 2011 from 37 percent."

Yet, any gains made so far will not sustain Gaza's estimated 2020 population of 2.1 million. 

The report states:

“The substantial population growth rate will thus add some 500,000 people to a living area which is restricted and already heavily urbanized. Fundamental infrastructure in electricity, water and sanitation, municipal and social services, is struggling to keep pace with the needs of the growing population.

“By 2020, electricity provision will need to double to meet demand, damage to the coastal aquifer will be irreversible without immediate remedial action, and hundreds of new schools and expanded health services will be needed for an overwhelmingly young population. Tens of thousands of housing units are needed today.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/120828/gaza-not-livable-2020-un-report