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Gaza conflict costs agriculture and fisheries sectors more than $100 million

27 August 2014 - Christian Aid partner in Gaza, the Agricultural Development Association, estimates that the recent conflict has cost the agricultural and fisheries sectors more than US$100 million, resulting in more than 8,700 families losing their means of income.

The association has managed to survey 4,700 Gazan farmers and smallholders over the last few weeks, 65 per cent of the farming population, with findings revealing that 3,670 acres of land used for fruit and vegetable production have been damaged or destroyed.

In addition to the devastated land, farmers have lost more than 316,579 livestock including cows, sheep and chickens, as well as the farms and barns in which they lived, and 1,161 beehives.

Meanwhile the fisheries industry has been completely wiped out with more than 4,000 fishermen unable to take to the sea.

With Gaza’s only power station destroyed at the end of July, refrigeration of the little that can now be produced is almost impossible. With such scarce supplies, prices are spiralling, meaning most people cannot now afford to buy fresh produce.

Figures released by the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA) at the beginning of June this year, before the current conflict began, reported that food insecurity levels in Gaza were already at 57 per cent,  and 40 per cent of the population were unemployed. UNRWA had already predicted in December 2013 that one million Gazans would need food aid in 2014.

'We urgently need to help families to build back their livelihoods and earn money to feed their families,' said Madeleine McGivern, Programme Officer at Christian Aid.

'Due to the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel people can’t leave to earn a living elsewhere, they need their land and boats repaired as quickly as possible. A growing number of people were entirely dependent on food aid before this latest round of violence. Now that number will rise even higher.'

'The Agricultural Development Association has been working with these communities for decades, supporting the agricultural and fisheries sectors, despite the severe limitations on the development of these sectors as a result of the Israeli imposed blockade. 

'In a matter of weeks this conflict has once again fuelled the "de-development" of the Gazan economy with huge destruction to these sectors and the lives of fishermen, farmers, and their families, which will take years to recover from.'

If you would like further information please contact:

• Adrian Horsman, Head of Media & Communications on +(44) 7710 764 093, (028) 9069 9123 or email ahorsman@christian-aid.org

• Florence Mutesasira, Communications & Media Officer. Tel: +(353) 086 160 9405, 01 775 8085 or email fmutesasira@christian-aid.org

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document ‘From Inspiration to Impact’ outlines how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid Ireland on Twitter: http://twitter.com/christianaidirl

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit www.christianaid.ie

6. The Agricultural Development Association is a large development organisation focusing on agricultural and rural development. They work to support male and female farmers, fishermen, and communities across the occupied Palestinian territory to improve their ability to make a living and develop a strong Palestinian agricultural sector. They also respond to humanitarian crises, and have responded to the Gaza Crisis in August 2014 by distributing water, food baskets, and non food items to vulnerable people. They will also be implementing a large scale recovery project which will contribute to the rehabilitation and recovery of the fishing and agricultural sectors in Gaza.

UNRWA (United Nations Refugee and Works Agency) source http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/press-releases/food-insecurity-palestine-remains-high

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