More than a year since Israel’s deadly onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip, the United Nations refugee agency (UNRWA) estimates that 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza are preparing to spend a second winter in damaged homes and makeshift structures.
Despite promises made by Arab nations such as Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates to provide funds to rebuild homes, many families are still waiting for aid. With deliveries of concrete hinging on Israeli permits, Gaza’s reconstruction process has faced grinding delays, fuelling a black market with significantly inflated prices for building materials
Many of Gaza’s makeshift homes are unfit for the upcoming cold, wet winter. Some have walls made solely out of plastic sheeting and pieces of fabric, while others are made from pieces of corrugated iron. Other families continue to live in precarious, partially destroyed buildings, with gaping holes and dangerous hanging chunks of concrete.
For the families trying to live and survive here, the upcoming winter has become a consuming worry. Rain is already destroying cobbled-together walls, and there is little escape from the cold. Pneumonia killed several Palestinians in Gaza last winter, and many are concerned about what the coming months could bring.