Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza Create 37M Tonnes of Debris, Could Take 14 Years to Clear; UN Official

The Gaza conflict has left 37 million tonnes of debris, taking 14 years to clear. Ceasefire negotiations aim to address the humanitarian crisis, as the scale of destruction threatens regional stability.

Nimrah Khatoon
New Update
Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza Create 37M Tonnes of Debris, Ceasefire Talks Revived as Catastrophe Threatens

Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza Create 37M Tonnes of Debris, Ceasefire Talks Revived as Catastrophe Threatens

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip has left a staggering 37 million tonnes of debris in its wake, according to a senior official from the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS). The extensive rubble and unexploded ordnance scattered across the densely populated coastal enclave could take over 14 years to clear, presenting significant challenges for rebuilding efforts and the restoration of normalcy for the 2.3 million residents of Gaza.

The Israeli airstrikes, which have been targeting Hamas militants and infrastructure, have destroyed around 70,000 houses and damaged 290,000 others, rendering them uninhabitable. The structures hit also include government buildings, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, and historical sites. "It is impossible to clearly state how much of the ammunition fired in Gaza remained live," the UNMAS official noted, emphasizing the potential hazards posed by unexploded ordnance buried in the debris.

As the humanitarian crisis in Gaza deepens, with most civilians left homeless, hungry, and at risk of disease, Egyptian officials have arrived in Israel to restart ceasefire negotiations. The international community has raised concerns about the catastrophic effects of a potential Israeli ground assault on the town of Rafah, where more than half of Gaza's displaced population has sought shelter.

Why this matters: The scale of destruction and the looming threat of a further escalation in violence underscore the urgent need for a ceasefire and a comprehensive plan to address the humanitarian emergency in Gaza. The long-term consequences of the conflict, including the extensive debris and the displacement of civilians, will have far-reaching implications for the region's stability and the well-being of its inhabitants.

The Egyptian delegation's visit to Israel aims to discuss a "new vision" for a prolonged ceasefire, which could include a limited exchange of hostages held by Hamas for Palestinian prisoners and the return of displaced Palestinians to their homes in northern Gaza. The United States and 17 other countries have appealed to Hamas to release all of its captives as a pathway to end the conflict. However, the lack of clarity on Israel's military plans has left aid agencies in a state of uncertainty, making contingency planning challenging in the face of the unpredictable situation.

Key Takeaways

  • 37 million tonnes of debris in Gaza, 14-year cleanup needed
  • 70,000 houses destroyed, 290,000 damaged, unexploded ordnance risks
  • Humanitarian crisis deepens, Egypt mediating ceasefire negotiations
  • Potential Israeli ground assault on Rafah raises international concerns
  • Hostage exchange, displaced return discussed in ceasefire talks