Distressingly little repair or rebuilding has occurred since the Gaza War (2008-2009). The Gaza strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, and residential zones suffered significant damage during the war. Over 15,000 homes sustained extensive damage during the War, displacing over 100,000 Palestinians and leaving thousands of families living in sub-standard conditions. The conflict left approximately 1,400 Palestinians dead and countless families without income due to loss of wage earner, multiple disabled family members, and increasingly high unemployment rates. The vast destruction calls for more than hasty, temporary solutions; in order to effectively help the communities in need, we must understand the importance of alternative, innovative, and sustainable solutions.
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Architecture for Humanity is partnering with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the American Friends Service Committee to create “Gaza: Alternative Repair Strategies,” a report that clearly describes many of the tactics produced by our team. This report will identify the issues in need of repair, and provide data and alternative repair strategies for each of these issues. The report will also include suggested methods of incorporating a humanitarian perspective in planning, choosing materials, repairing, and integrating the community in every step of the process.
In the next month, we will publish and share this report with other NGOs to help guide their efforts in mobilizing repairs to Gaza in ways that will being to provide a sense of normalcy and dignity to the community. We recognize that money given to families to fund repair without guidance is often used to cover basic human needs such as clean water and food. Without a team of hardworking specialists, and a clear understanding of how to effectively repair, the tremendous damage in Gaza will continue to be inappropriately remedied or, more likely, overlooked.