Israeli cement ban leaves Gazan homes in ruins

Israeli cement ban leaves Gazan homes in ruins
Israel's suspension of building supplies to Gaza is preventing the reconstruction of thousands of homes destroyed in the summer 2014 war on the Strip.
2 min read
29 April, 2016
Thousands of homes were destroyed in the Israeli war on Gaza in 2014 [AFP]
More than a thousand families in Gaza will not receive aid promised to help them reconstruct their homes after Israel placed a ban on private import of materials, the United Nations said on Friday.

Israel suspended cement import to the besieged Gaza city earlier this month after alleged corruption.

Israeli authorities accused Hamas of intercepting supplies to build tunnels, blaming Imad al-Baz, deputy director of the economy ministry for the alleged corruption – a claim denied by the Palestinian official.

"Organisations providing assistance have had to suspend cash assistance for house repairs to over 1,370 families as a result of scarcity and acute price increases," a statement from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

"In addition, payment to 1,550 families scheduled to start reconstruction are being delayed due to the lack of available cement."

UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned that anyone misusing the cement was "stealing from his own people and adding to the suffering of the people of Gaza."

Gaza was left in ruins after an Israeli offensive wiped out most of its infrastructure in 2014. More than 75,000 people were left displaced after homes were reduced to rubble.

An Israeli blockade severely restricts the movement of people and goods into and out of the territory – described globally as the world’s largest open air prison – and Egypt's sole border with Gaza has also remained largely closed since 2013.