Kuwait, Palestine, 4 August 2022 – Some 50 houses are the first in line to be rehabilitated for non-refugee families living in the Gaza Strip, Palestine, thanks to an initiative of UN-Habitat and the International Islamic Charity Organization (IICO).
In cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Public Works and Housing, the project aims to support the rehabilitation of housing units and support local economic development in Gaza and the North Gaza governorates, where more than one million people reside. Many of the residents suffer from deteriorated living conditions. During the implementation of the project, vocational training and work opportunities will also be provided to residents.
“This project is an actual contribution to improving the security of tenure and fostering resilience of families affected by the recent escalation in the Gaza Strip,” Erfan Ali, UN-Habitat Regional Representative for the Arab States, stated during the press conference announcing the partnership. “It also contributes to achieving long-term stability in the region.”
During the period between 10 and 21 May 20221 in Gaza, more than 100,000 people fled their homes due to the May 2021 escalations in Palestine. Further, since 2014, 63 percent of households reported that their shelter had been damaged or destroyed. In 2021, 31 percent of these households reported shelter damage. The main objective of the project is to rehabilitate a portion of the housing units in the Gaza Strip that were damaged during the May 2021 conflict.
Bader Al Sumait, General Manager of IICO, reiterated the organisation’s keenness on partnering with UN-Habitat for the third time after its successful implementation of other projects, one of them in response to Beirut Port explosion. “Palestinians are in desperate need of housing due to the destruction of their houses as a result of the fifteen years of the blockade in the Gaza Strip,” Al Sumait continued. “IICO and UN-Habitat share the same vision when it comes to economic empowerment and providing housing for vulnerable groups.”
From her side, Ameera Alhassan, UN-Habitat Kuwait country program director, stated that the ongoing partnership between UN-Habitat and IICO reflects mutual trust and translated into more development and humanitarian projects. The State of Kuwait proves that it was and still is a humanitarian centre that gives unconditional aid wherever needed, supported by the leadership, the government and the people of Kuwait.
Since 2003, UN-Habitat has been supporting the State of Palestine through supporting neighbourhood planning in Gaza and participatory spatial planning interventions, including public spaces, to better guide reconstruction efforts.