War Left Four Million Tons of Rubble in Gaza, Says Environmental Group

Amount of rubble is five-times more than in last conflict between Israel, Gaza, advocacy group says in report; would take $30 million, six to eight months to clear.

AP

Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge have left four million tons of rubble, five times more than in the last conflict between Israel and the Hamas-controlled enclave in 2012, an environmental advocacy group in the West Bank said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry said Tuesday that the United Nations, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reached a deal to allow reconstruction work to begin in the Gaza Strip.

Fifty days of conflict in Gaza between Hamas militants and Israel, which ended late last month, has left swathes of the Mediterranean enclave in ruins. Clearing the millions of tons rubble would be impossible without around $30 million in aid, and would take between six to eight months, the Environmental Education Center of the Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Lands said in a report, NBC reported.

The center warned that the degree of desolation may result in humanitarian and environmental disaster, and noted that the Gaza authorities are ill-equipped and can only handle about 20 percent of the rubble.

According to a recent study by the Palestinian Authority, Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip razed about 17,000 homes, and estimated reconstruction to about $7.8 billion, two and a half times Gaza's gross domestic product.