Palestinian Estimates: Fighting Caused $1.9 Billion in Damage to Gaza Strip

Initial PA calculations show 14% of all structures damaged in offensive.

The economic damage to the Gaza Strip as a result of Israel's three-week offensive is estimated at $1.9 billion, according to the Palestinian Statistical Authority in Ramallah. The estimate includes the value of destroyed structures, the anticipated cost of clearing away debris, and the damage caused to ongoing economic activity in the Strip.

According to the authors of the estimate, these figures are conservative and not final.

The Palestinian Authority calculations hold that Israel's offensive resulted in damage to 14 percent of all structures and buildings in the Gaza Strip. The total number of such structures, according to data from the end of 2007, stood at 147,437. An estimated 4,100 homes were destroyed in their entirety, comprising damage that is assessed at $200 million. Partial damage was caused to approximately 17,000 other residences and buildings, with the estimated direct cost of that damage reaching $82 million.

The Palestinian estimates also list as destroyed 25 schools, structures on university campuses and hospitals; 31 structures belonging to the security services; an entire compound of government offices; and 17 other structures housing government offices. The list of destroyed infrastructure includes two bridges, five municipalities and public spaces, four gas stations; and a total of 1500 factories, metal workshops, shops and other commercial structures. The list also includes 20 ambulances.

In terms of basic infrastructure, the estimate refers to 10 water and sewage arteries, 10 electricity-generating stations, and about 50 kilometers of paved roads that will need to be rebuilt. The estimate does not include an assessment of the damage to streets in neighborhoods inside the Gaza Strip.

The damage to agricultural land is estimated at $90 million, with the statistical authority estimating that 80 percent of all agricultural properties have been destroyed in terms of infrastructure, structures on them, and the crops that had been planted.

The total cost of the physical damage caused to the Gaza Strip is estimated at $498 million, and the cost of clearing the wreckag will cost another $600 million.

The Palestinian officials also prepared an estimate of losses caused by the disruption to economic activity. This was done on the basis of a minimum estimate of activity valued at $4 million per day (based on 2007 figures). During the three weeks of fighting, the losses are estimated at $86.7 million.

According to the assessments, it will take a year for the economy of Gaza to recover to its 2007 level - which was especially low because of Israel's siege of the Strip.