Project Begins to Remove 140,000 Tons of Rubble in Gaza City Neighborhood

Sweden is footing the bill for the first initiative to clear away wreckage from the summer war.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Rubble of destroyed buildings from the 50-day conflict between Hamas and Israel, Shijaiyah neighborhood, Gaza Strip, Oct. 12 ,2014.
Rubble of destroyed buildings from the 50-day conflict between Hamas and Israel, Shijaiyah neighborhood, Gaza Strip, Oct. 12 ,2014.Credit: AFP

The first large-scale project to remove tons of rubble in the Gaza Strip left over from this summer’s fighting between the Islamic militant group Hamas and Israel began on Wednesday, a significant step forward in rebuilding the war-torn area.

The project is taking place in Gaza City’s Shijaiyah neighborhood, an area that was devastated during the fighting. Workers manning bulldozers and other heavy machinery began gathering and crushing the rubble. Others, wearing fluorescent vests, were busy extracting twisted rebar for recycling. People used horse-drawn carts to carry bags of cement to repair damaged dwellings.

Palestinian Minister of Public Works Mufeed al-Hasayneh said the 50-day war in July and August left 2.5 million tons of rubble in Gaza.

Sweden is paying $3.2 million for the project through the United Nations, where officials hope to crush and clear 140,000 tons of rubble in Shijaiyah over the course of a year.

About 100,000 buildings or structures were damaged in the fighting. The UN says this includes over 18,000 housing units that were entirely destroyed.

More than three months after the end of the war, delivery of building materials is slow.

A UN-sponsored mechanism allows some people to obtain cement and steel based on vouchers from the ministry. The vouchers are issued after Israel is briefed on the amounts of the materials each family would get, to make sure that supplies are not diverted to Hamas to build attack tunnels or other militant infrastructure.

“This is a painful way because there is still a long course and we have not started real rebuilding until now,” al-Hasayneh said.

Sweden’s Consul General in Jerusalem Ann-Sofie Nilsson has announced a $3.4 million fund for the more than 1,500 families whose homes were destroyed.

Nabil al-Deeb, a 51-year-old who lost his house in the Gaza fighting, said he wants the removal of rubble to be completed as soon as possible. “So far, we are still suffering in accommodation. We live in rentals and no one is taking care of us,” he said.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott