| Welcome to Global Village Space

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Surge in prices of basic necessities causes distress in Gaza

A surge in prices, particularly for basic foodstuffs, fuels anger and resentment within a population already burdened by deprivation.

With the subsiding echoes of war, Gaza now grapples with unprecedented challenges under the fragile embrace of a truce. The first taste of peace since October 7 propels desperate shoppers into markets, frantically seeking essential supplies and winter clothing. However, a surge in prices, particularly for basic foodstuffs, fuels anger and resentment within a population already burdened by displacement and deprivation.

Human Toll

Imm Abdullah’s story epitomises the dire circumstances faced by many Gazans. Displaced with her 12 children and grandchildren, she now resides in a UN-run school with dwindling provisions and no water. The meagre food assistance provided is woefully inadequate, leaving families like hers in a desperate struggle for sustenance.

Read More: US lectures Israel over Gaza war – leaks

Soaring Prices 

The price distortion in Gaza is not merely a consequence of recent hostilities; it compounds the longstanding economic challenges exacerbated by a 17-year Israeli blockade. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the poverty rate stands at a staggering 53 percent, with one-third of residents living in extreme poverty. Unemployment is rampant at 47 percent, and the recent conflict has led to inflation ranging from 300 to 2,000 percent for various products.

Economic Fallout 

Economic analyst Elhasan Bakr sheds light on the grim economic realities facing Gaza. The direct loss to the private sector surpasses $3 billion, with an additional $1.5 billion in indirect losses. The agricultural sector alone has suffered a $300 million setback, including the destruction of fruitful trees near the Israeli fence. A staggering 65,000 economic facilities have either been destroyed or halted, resulting in a massive loss of jobs and exacerbating food insecurity.

Humanitarian Aid Shortfalls

The small amount of aid permitted by Israel to enter Gaza falls far short of meeting the needs of the nearly one million displaced individuals seeking refuge in UN schools. Bakr highlights the stark reality: between October 22 and November 12, fewer than 1,100 trucks entered Gaza, with fewer than 400 carrying food products. Barely 10 percent of Gaza’s food sector needs are being met, a fraction of the daily influx before October 7.

Black Market Challenges

With border crossings closed, wholesale merchants are driving up prices, leaving shopkeepers with little choice but to pass the burden onto consumers. Lentils, once 2 shekels per kilo, now cost 8 shekels. The price hikes are particularly pronounced for food products, amplifying the struggles of displaced families trying to secure basic necessities.

Read More: Bollywood actress Rajshri Deshpande dedicates her award to Gaza

As Gazans navigate a landscape of destruction, the lack of compensation for businesses further complicates recovery. Previous Israeli offensives have seen donor aid focused on housing units rather than economic support. The current devastation extends beyond physical infrastructure, encompassing roads, communications towers, electricity installations, and sanitary extensions.