Initial assessments: 360 factories damaged during Operation Protective Edge

Most of the factories and workshops destroyed were those in the construction sector, food industry and furniture production.  Photo: Eman Mohammed

Most of the factories and workshops destroyed were those in the construction sector, food industry and furniture production. Photo: Eman Mohammed

August 18, 2014. Initial assessments undertaken by the Palestinian Federation of Industries in Gaza show that 360 factories and workshops were damaged during Operation Protective Edge. Around 126 of them were completely destroyed.

Direct losses as a result of the damage are estimated at $190 million. Indirect losses, from the closure of factories and workshops during the military operation, are estimated to stand at $47 million dollars. During the military operation, 2,695 factories and workshops were closed. Together, they employ 30,700 workers. Prior to the operation, production at these factories was also low due to the ban on marketing goods from Gaza in the West Bank and Israel and because of restrictions Israel places on the transfer of construction materials into the Strip.

The head of the Palestinian Contractors’ Union estimates that 3.5 million tons of construction materials are needed in order to rebuild in Gaza. This is just an initial estimate. The union and international organizations are beginning to conduct assessments of the damage in order to get a better sense of needs.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that the military operation paralyzed local food production and agriculture in Gaza as well as the fishing industry. They estimate that 170,000 dunams (42,000 acres) of agricultural land, farms, and greenhouses were damaged and that the fishing sector lost 9.3% of its annual catch, or about 234.6 tons of fish. Approximately 28,600 families were reliant on income from the agricultural and fishing sectors.

Electricity
Since last Tuesday, August 12th, nine of ten high tension lines carrying electricity purchased from Israel are functioning. The tenth line, in the Khan Yunis area, was completely destroyed. The Palestinian electrical company is working to restore the line. Once the line is back up, electricity supply will stand at 120 megawatts (MW) coming from Israel and approximately 32 MW from three lines from Egypt. The average length of power outages around the Strip is 15 hours – six hours of power, followed by 12 hours of cuts in rolling blackouts.

Prices
Prices have dropped significantly in the past days compared to hikes seen during hostilities. A kilo of tomatoes, for example, which rose to between 5-7 shekels is now back to 3 shekels. The price of onions, potatoes and green peppers has also gone back down. It appears that this is due to the fact that some farmers have been able to reach their lands and bring their vegetables to market. Most fruit is brought in from Israel such that prices have remained stable.

Crossings
Erez Crossing continues to operate according to a restricted format for exit of casualties, medical patients and their companions as well as foreign citizens. Until the time of this update, 30 medical patients and companions had transited via Erez.

Kerem Shalom was open starting at 7am for entrance of goods, including fuel. Thirty truckloads of fuel and cooking gas were expected to enter for the private sector and the United Nations.

Yesterday, 27 truckloads of fuel and cooking gas entered for the private sector, in addition to 244 truckloads of other goods for both the private sector and international organizations.

A fuel pump at the crossing was fixed recently after it broke a week and a half ago, allowing more fuel and cooking gas to be transported to Gaza. Nonetheless, shortages of cooking gas continue both because of insufficient amounts entering via Kerem Shalom and the fact that some drivers are using cooking gas instead of benzene due to its lower price.

Last week we reported that Kerem Shalom closed due to rocket fire in the area of the crossing. Later, the Ministry of Defense shared a film showing fire on the crossing itself.

Gisha condemns the targeting of Kerem Shalom, used to transport essential civilian goods to Gaza, including food, fuel and medicine. The attack is a clear violation of international humanitarian law. All parties to the hostilities are prohibited from targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure and must actively take precautions to avoid harming them.