Gaza: It could take 14 years to clear debris, UN official says

Israel's military campaign against Hamas has reduced much of the territory of 2.3 million people to a wasteland with most civilians homeless

By Reuters

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Palestinians walk amidst the debris in the city of Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on April 18. Photo: AFP file
Palestinians walk amidst the debris in the city of Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on April 18. Photo: AFP file

Published: Fri 26 Apr 2024, 2:54 PM

The vast amount of rubble including unexploded ordnance left by Israel's devastating war in the Gaza Strip could take about 14 years to remove, a United Nations official said on Friday.

Israel's military campaign against Palestinian group Hamas has reduced much of the narrow, coastal territory of 2.3 million people to a wasteland with most civilians homeless, hungry and at risk of disease.


Pehr Lodhammar, senior officer at the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), told a briefing in Geneva that the war had left an estimated 37 million tons of debris in the widely urbanised, densely populated territory.

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He said that although it was impossible to determine the exact number of unexploded ordnance found in Gaza, it was projected that it could take 14 years under certain conditions to clear debris, including rubble from destroyed buildings.

"We know that typically there's a failure rate of at least 10% of land service ammunition that is being fired and fails to function," he said. "We're talking about 14 years of work with 100 trucks."

At least 34,305 Palestinians have been killed and 77,293 wounded in Israel's military offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7, according to Gaza's health ministry.

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