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Gaza becoming ‘unlivable’ faster than expected: UN official

A Palestinian woman sits with her grandchildren outside her house in a refugee camp in southern Gaza Strip on July 11, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
A UN official has warned that the Gaza Strip is drawing closer to becoming “unlivable” much faster than previous expectations, as Israel’s all-out blockade of the impoverished sliver continues.
In a Tuesday interview with AFP, the UN's top humanitarian official in the Palestinian territories, Robert Piper, said that all the "indicators are going in the wrong direction" with regard to the living conditions in Gaza.
"We predicted some years ago that Gaza would fast become unlivable on a host of indicators and that deadline is actually approaching even faster than we predicted -- from health access, to energy to water," he said.
UN's humanitarian coordinator for the West Bank and Gaza and a deputy secretary general Robert Piper speaks in an interview with Reuters in East Jerusalem al-Quds on July 11, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
A 2012 UN report predicted that Gaza Strip would be "unlivable" by 2020 if nothing was done to ease Israel’s ongoing blockade.
Power supplies are restricted to two hours a day in Gaza, while medical care has been reduced and youth unemployment hiked to 60 percent, Piper noted.
He said that under the existing circumstances, "for most of us that unlivability point has already been passed", adding, “And yet somehow the Gazans soldier on."
A new UN report on living conditions in Gaza titled "Gaza - Ten Years Later" says over 95 percent of Gaza's water is not suitable for drinking.

Israel has been blockading the enclave since 2007 as a way of punishing its two million residents over voting for a Hamas administration. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
Israel has also waged four wars on the impoverished enclave since 2008, killing and maiming hundreds of civilians and destroying the infrastructure in the region.

The enclave is also heavily taxed by the Palestinian Authority based in the occupied West Bank for the fuel it imports. Hamas accuses the Palestinian Authority of cooperation with Israel towards controlling the situation in Gaza.
Tel Aviv already enjoys close cooperation from Egypt to implement the all-out land, aerial, and naval embargo over the territory.
Since 2013, Egypt has largely closed off its only shared crossing with Gaza and destroyed hundreds of tunnels that provided a vital lifeline for the economy of Gaza Strip. 

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