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PHOTOS: In Gaza, rebuilding is still over the horizon

With the humanitarian crisis more dire than ever before, the extreme need in Gaza continues to far outstrip the trickle of resources allowed to enter.

Photos: Anne Paq/Activestills.org
Text: Ryan Rodrick Beiler

Click here for +972’s full coverage of the Gaza war

A Palestinian child from Wadhan family picks up a book in the rubble of the destroyed home of his relatives, in the city of Beit Hanoun, Northern Gaza city, November 10, 2014. Eight members of the Wadhan family, mostly women and children were killed. Israeli forces attacked after family members were told to stay inside the house. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. Palestinians in one of the new established camp with metal caravan shelters for displaced people in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 9, 2014. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. Metal caravan shelters are seen on top of a destroyed home in the city of Beit Hanoun, Northern Gaza city, November 10, 2014. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. Majda Bashir with three of her children, stand in the classroom where she stays with her family in the UNRWA al Mazra'a preparatory girls school, in the city of Deir al-Balah, eastern Gaza Strip, November 7, 2014. According to Majda, her family does not receive any food aid because the government was late to register the destruction of their home, preventing them to get on the list of beneficiaries. Several of her children suffer from malnutrition. Around 1,400 displaced Palestinians live in the school in very precarious conditions. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. A destroyed living home in the home of al Talal Al Helu in Shujayea neighborood, eastern Gaza city, November 10, 2014. Talal Al Helu lost 11 members of his family, in an attack on his brothers' home. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. Palestinians salvage materials at night from destroyed homes in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. Clothes hanged out in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. Ibtisam Al Najjar seen at the entrance to the basement where she and her family sleep in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. Their home is half destroyed with the first floor having totally collapsed on the ground floor, forcing the 7 members of the family to sleep in the basement in very unsafe conditions. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. A Palestinian woman sits near a fire in the new established camp with caravans for displaced people in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. More than 200 Palestinians live in precarious conditions in the 26 caravans. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. Jaber Abu Sa'eed, a 70-years old Nakba survivor, sits on his land, in the village of Juhor ad-Dik, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. His home, located just 300 meters from the border, was demolished by the Israeli army during this summer. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. A woman from Abu Sa'eed family stands in the kitchen of her new tin home, in the village of Juhor ad-Dik, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. Their home, located just 300 meters from the border, was demolished by the Israeli army during Operation Protective Edges military offensive on Gaza. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. A child coming out of his destroyed home in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 7, 2014. Six family members stay in the living room, which is the only room which was not destroyed. Big holes in the walls have been barely covered by pieces of wood and plastic sheet. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless.  Anne Paq/Activestills.org

A Palestinian child from Wahdhan family picks up a book in the rubble of the destroyed home of his relatives, in the city of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza City, November 10, 2014. Eight members of the Wahdan family, mostly women and children, were killed. Israeli forces attacked after family members were told to stay inside the house. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Following Israel’s seven-week offensive last summer, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been forced to cope with living conditions much harsher than the aftermath of previous wars. As winter approaches, UN estimates that some 18,000 housing units remain either destroyed or severely damaged, rendering more than 108,000 people homeless.

Eyewitnesses report that many of those without adequate shelter are living in donated caravans that leak in the rain and have no electricity or plumbing. Some 39,000 people remain sheltered in 18 UN schools, which are also unsuitable for winter weather.

According to UN reports, as of November 4 only 700 beneficiaries were able to purchase much needed construction material in order to start the rehabilitation of their homes. The reports estimate that under the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM), the temporary measure agreed between the governments of Palestine and Israel, shelter reconstruction would take two to three years, assuming  “political stability, technical capacities for crossings and equipment, the smooth functioning of the GRM and adequate financial resources.” In other words, barring any punitive measures by Israel that would further choke supplies.

Palestinians report that every rebuilding, for each home, needs to be approved through this cumbersome mechanism. In the meantime, construction materials are stuck in Rafah Crossing and even in storage rooms on the Gaza side, stalled by lack of approval.

Desperate families have started to build shacks themselves or try to patch holes in their homes with whatever they can find or salvage: cover, plastic, wood, tin, etc. Almost no new concrete is available, and what is available is expensive and poor quality made from recycled rubble.

The UN reports the cumulative death toll among Palestinians as at least 2,256, including 306 women and 538 children. It is reported that the cumulative Israeli fatality toll is 71, of whom five were civilians, including one child.

Metal caravan shelters are seen on top of a destroyed home in the city of Beit Hanoun, Northern Gaza city, November 10, 2014.  Anne Paq/Activestills.org

Metal caravan shelters are seen on top of a destroyed home in the city of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza City, November 10, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Palestinians salvage materials at night from destroyed homes in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014.  Anne Paq/Activestills.org

Palestinians salvage materials from destroyed homes at night in the village of Khuza’a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Palestinians in one of the new established camp with metal caravan shelters for displaced people in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 9, 2014. Anne Paq/Activestills.org

Palestinians in one of the new established camps with metal caravan shelters for displaced people in the village of Khuza’a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 9, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Photos of members of the family of Zaki Wadhan who were killed by Israeli attacks in the city of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza city, November 10, 2014. Anne Paq/Activestills.org

Photos of members of Zaki Wahdan’s family members who were killed in Israeli attacks on the city of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza City, November 10, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Jaber Abu Sa'eed, a 70-years old Nakba survivor, sits on his land, in the village of Juhor ad-Dik, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. His home, located just 300 meters from the border, was demolished by the Israeli army during this summer. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. A woman from Abu Sa'eed family stands in the kitchen of her new tin home, in the village of Juhor ad-Dik, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. Their home, located just 300 meters from the border, was demolished by the Israeli army during Operation Protective Edges military offensive on Gaza. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. A child coming out of his destroyed home in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 7, 2014. Six family members stay in the living room, which is the only room which was not destroyed. Big holes in the walls have been barely covered by pieces of wood and plastic sheet. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless.  Anne Paq/Activestills.org

Jaber Abu Sa’eed, a 70-year-old refugee from the 1948 Nakba, sits on his land in the village of Juhor ad-Dik, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. His home, located just 300 meters from the border, was demolished by the Israeli army during this summer’s war. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian woman sits near a fire in the new established camp with caravans for displaced people in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. More than 200 Palestinians live in precarious conditions in the 26 caravans. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. Jaber Abu Sa'eed, a 70-years old Nakba survivor, sits on his land, in the village of Juhor ad-Dik, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. His home, located just 300 meters from the border, was demolished by the Israeli army during this summer. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. A woman from Abu Sa'eed family stands in the kitchen of her new tin home, in the village of Juhor ad-Dik, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. Their home, located just 300 meters from the border, was demolished by the Israeli army during Operation Protective Edges military offensive on Gaza. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. A child coming out of his destroyed home in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 7, 2014. Six family members stay in the living room, which is the only room which was not destroyed. Big holes in the walls have been barely covered by pieces of wood and plastic sheet. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless.  Anne Paq/Activestills.org

A Palestinian woman sits near a fire in the new established camp with 26 caravans for over 200 displaced people in the village of Khuza’a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A destroyed living home in the home of al Talal Al Helu in Shujayea neighborood, eastern Gaza city, November 10, 2014. Talal Al Helu lost 11 members of his family, in an attack on his brothers' home.  Anne Paq/Activestills.org

A destroyed living room in the home of Talal Al Helu in Shujayea neighborhood, eastern Gaza City, November 10, 2014. Talal Al Helu lost 11 members of his family, in an attack on his brothers’ home. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Ibtisam Al Najjar seen at the entrance to the basement where she and her family sleep in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. Their home is half destroyed with the first floor having totally collapsed on the ground floor, forcing the 7 members of the family to sleep in the basement in very unsafe conditions. Anne Paq/Activestills.org

Ibtisam an-Najjar seen at the entrance to the basement where she and her family sleep in the village of Khuza’a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. Their home is half destroyed with the first floor having totally collapsed on the ground floor. Seven members of the family are now forced to sleep in the basement in very unsafe conditions. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A child coming out of his destroyed home in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 7, 2014. Six family members stay in the living room, which is the only room which was not destroyed. Big holes in the walls have been barely covered by pieces of wood and plastic sheet. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless.  Anne Paq/Activestills.org

A child coming out of his destroyed home in the village of Khuza’a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 7, 2014. Six family members are now staying in the living room, which is the only room that was not destroyed. Big holes in the walls have barely been covered by pieces of wood and plastic sheeting. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Clothes hanged out in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. Anne Paq/Activestills.org

Clothes hanging out to dry in the village of Khuza’a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Children in the new established camp with metal caravan shelters for displaced people in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 7, 2014. More than 200 Palestinians live in precarious conditions in the 26 caravans. Anne Paq/Activestills.org

Children in the newly established camp of metal caravan shelters for displaced people in the village of Khuza’a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 7, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Majda Bashir with three of her children, stand in the classroom where she stays with her family in the UNRWA al Mazra'a preparatory girls school, in the city of Deir al-Balah, eastern Gaza Strip, November 7, 2014. According to Majda, her family does not receive any food aid because the government was late to register the destruction of their home, preventing them to get on the list of beneficiaries. Several of her children suffer from malnutrition. Around 1,400 displaced Palestinians live in the school in very precarious conditions. Anne Paq/Activestills.org

Majda Bashir with three of her children, stand in the classroom where she stays with her family in the UNRWA al Mazra’a preparatory girls school, in the city of Deir al-Balah, eastern Gaza Strip, November 7, 2014. According to Majda, her family does not receive any food aid because the government was late to register the destruction of their home, preventing them from getting on a list of beneficiaries. Several of her children suffer from malnutrition. Around 1,400 displaced Palestinians live in the school in very precarious conditions. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A water cistern is being connected at night to a shelter built by displaced Palestinians in the village of Qarara, eastern Gaza Strip, November 9, 2014. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless.  Anne Paq/Activestills.org

A water cistern is connected to a shelter built by displaced Palestinians in the village of Qarara, eastern Gaza Strip, November 9, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A woman from Abu Sa'eed family stands in the kitchen of her new tin home, in the village of Juhor ad-Dik, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. Their home, located just 300 meters from the border, was demolished by the Israeli army during Operation Protective Edges military offensive on Gaza. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. A child coming out of his destroyed home in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 7, 2014. Six family members stay in the living room, which is the only room which was not destroyed. Big holes in the walls have been barely covered by pieces of wood and plastic sheet. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. Anne Paq/Activestills.org

A woman from the Abu Sa’eed family stands in the kitchen of her new tin home, in the village of Juhor ad-Dik, eastern Gaza Strip, November 6, 2014. Their home, located just 300 meters from the border, was demolished by the Israeli army during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s name for this summer’s assault on Gaza. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

More photos from Gaza:
Gaza’s children face an uncertain future
Amid rubble and trauma, Gaza goes back to school
Living in the ruins of a shattered Gaza neighborhood

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    COMMENTS

    1. Baladi Akka 1948

      The name of the family mentioned in the first dn the fifte photo is Wahdan, and not Wadhan.

      “Eight members of the Wahdan family, the youngest only two years old, were killed in an Israeli airstrike on their home in Gaza after Israeli forces confined them inside and used their home as a military base.”
      http://www.dci-palestine.org/documents/israeli-forces-confine-gaza-family-home-occupants-later-killed-attack
      The-Most-Moral-Army-In-The-World ….. yeah.

      Reply to Comment
      • Baladi Akka 1948

        Typo: ‘and’, ‘fifth’

        Reply to Comment
    2. Pedro X

      Active Stills actively avoids examining Palestinian agency for the situation in Gaza. Active Still assiduously avoids any pictures or mention of Hamas’s or Islamic Jihad’s military infrastructure and the the connection between the location and use of these assets and the location of much of the damage suffer3ed by Palestinians. Active Stills did and will not show rockets stored in peoples’ homes, mosques, schools and public buildings. Active Stills will not show pictures of rockets fired from hospitals or tunnels used for storage and movement of terrorists and the fact that these tunnels and other military infrastructure, were located in heavily populated civilian areas.

      Active Stills also ignores that Hamas is actively blocking and delaying the delivery of reconstruction materials by physically and politically fighting with the PA and Fatah. Hamas refuses to hand over power in Gaza to the PA. This week 15 Fatah leaders were targeted with bombs. A rally for the 10th year anniversary of the death of terrorist Yaasir Arafat had to be cancelled because Hamas refused to protect the celebrations from attack.

      Hamas continues to rule the Gaza strip with an iron fist. It continues with its weapons programs. Neither the PA nor Israel will accelerate the entry of reconstruction material to allow Hamas to steal the materials as they did before for building the infrastructure for the next war on Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    3. mary keating

      good God, they want pics of rockets- get it- there isn’t even insulation here for the cold winter months..crazies!

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        What winter? The weather channel says the high in Gaza was 24 degrees Celsius. Where I live it will be 29 and 31 below Celsius. For crying out loud Palestinians do not even know what a block heater is for a car. Winter in deed.

        Palestinians are such whiners.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gearoid

          You are such a racist troll.

          Slither back off to your hate sites you despicable thing.

          Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            You are such a bunch of whiners when you are caught in your lies.

            Reply to Comment
      • It gets cold in the winter, once it starts raining (like now). Of course it isn’t cold like the cold Pedro talks about, but these boxes are metal and it will get cold and stay cold, not to mention being damp all the time. The apartment buildings also are cement and get cold and stay cold until the spring/summer.

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          So put on a sweater and some wool socks. Build a little fire and you will be toasty warm. It is not rocket science to keep warm. Some of my ancestors lived in sod huts and managed to keep warm during long cold prairie winters.

          Reply to Comment

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