Gaza has more rubble than Ukraine

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According to the UN, Gaza is grappling with a staggering amount of debris and rubble, surpassing even that of Ukraine, posing a daunting challenge for cleanup efforts due to the presence of asbestos and unexploded ordnance.

 

Six months into Israel’s war on Gaza, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) reported that the debris in Gaza amounted to 37 million tonnes in mid-April, equivalent to 300 kilograms per square meter.

 

Mungo Birch, head of the UNMAS program in Palestinian territories, highlighted the stark comparison: “Gaza has more rubble than Ukraine, and to put that in perspective, the Ukrainian front line is 600 miles (nearly 1,000 kilometers) long, and Gaza is 25 miles (40 km) long.”

 

Besides the sheer volume, UNMAS emphasized the hazardous nature of the rubble, contaminated with unexploded ordnance and other dangers. Birch warned of the presence of over 800,000 tonnes of asbestos in Gaza’s rubble, requiring specialized handling due to its carcinogenic properties.

 

Birch expressed hope for UNMAS to lead coordination efforts for mine action in Gaza but stressed the need for additional funding. While $5 million has been secured, an additional $40 million is required over the next year. Birch noted that the entire sector would need hundreds of millions of dollars over multiple years to ensure Gaza’s safety.

 

A recent meeting in Amman, convened by the United Nations Development Programme, gathered key stakeholders to plan future operations in Gaza.

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