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Unemployment nears 80% in Gaza, UN agency says

June 7, 2024 2:32 PM IST

Unemployment in the Gaza Strip has reached nearly 80% since the war with Israel erupted last October, the United Nations labour agency said on Friday, bringing the average unemployment rate across Palestinian territories to more than 50%.

Unemployment in the Gaza Strip has reached 79.1%, while the West Bank has seen joblessness hit nearly 32%, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said in its fourth assessment of the impact of the war on employment. The figures give a combined unemployment rate of 50.8%.

“This excludes Palestinians who have given up on finding a job,” said Ruba Jaradat, ILO Regional Director for Arab States.

“The situation is much worse.”

Israel’s ground and air campaign in Gaza came in response to Hamas’ storming of southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing 253 more as hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

The Israeli offensive has killed more than 36,500 people, according to health authorities in the Gaza Strip, where around half of its 2.3 million people lived below the poverty line even before the war.

“Imagine with this very high level of unemployment, people will not be able to secure food for themselves and for their families,” Jaradat said.

“This is also impacting their health…. Even if they have money, there are no hospitals that can accommodate the catastrophic situation there.”

In terms of the economy, the real gross domestic product (GDP) has contracted by nearly 33% in the Palestinian territories since the start of the war, with an estimated contraction of 83.5% in the Gaza Strip and by 22.7% in the West Bank, according to data published by ILO.

“In the occupied Palestinian territory and particularly in the West Bank, the reduction in incomes has pushed many families into severe poverty,” Jaradat said.

(Reuters)

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