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Gaza infrastructure damages estimated at $18.5bn in UN-World Bank report

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The initial assessment, which describes the level of destruction in Gaza as ‘unprecedented’, is likely to be an underestimate of the real damages, losses and needs in the Palestinian enclave.

The cost of damage to critical infrastructure in the first four months of Israel’s continuing war on Gaza is estimated at about $18.5bn, a new report by the World Bank and the United Nations has found.

The report estimated that the damage was equivalent to 97 percent of the combined GDP of the occupied West Bank and Gaza in 2022.

“The level of destruction in the Gaza Strip since October 2023 is unprecedented,” the Interim Damage Assessment Note released on Tuesday said.

The continuing conflict has damaged or destroyed approximately 62 percent of all homes in Gaza, equivalent to 290,820 housing units, and more than a million people are without homes. Housing accounts for 72 percent of the total damage costs, at an estimated value of $13.3bn.

Public service infrastructure, such as water, health and education, account for 19 percent, while commercial and industrial buildings make up 9 percent.

The energy, water and municipal sectors have suffered nearly $800m in damages and the water and sanitation system has been significantly reduced, delivering less than 5 percent of its previous output.

With 84 percent of health facilities damaged or destroyed, and a lack of electricity and water to operate the remaining ones, the population has minimal access to healthcare, the report found.

Al Shifa hospital
An aerial view of damage around the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City [Omar El Qattaa/Anadolu via Getty Images]

The education system has collapsed, with all of Gaza’s 625,000 students out of school. Damage to education infrastructure amounts to $341m as an estimated 56 school facilities have been destroyed and 219 partially damaged.

Additionally, 26 million tonnes of debris and rubble have been left in the wake of the destruction, an amount that is estimated to take years to remove.

“To date, 80 percent of total damages were concentrated in the governorates of Gaza, North Gaza, and Khan Younis,” the report said, noting that significant damage was also recorded in Beit Lahiya and Rafah governorates.

“The municipality of Gaza alone accounted for US$7.29 billion of total damage, with Jabalya following at $2.01 billion, Khan Younis at US$1.82 million, and Beit Lahiya accounting for US$1.08 billion of the total,” it said.

Such costs “are expected to increase substantially along with the magnitude of damages as the conflict continues. This is particularly true in the south of the Gaza Strip which has seen greater destruction in recent weeks,” it added.

The assessment, conducted with support from the European Union, used remote data collection sources and analytics to provide a preliminary estimate of damages to physical structures in Gaza from the conflict.

These initial findings are likely to be an underestimate of the real damages, losses and needs, which the organisations said would require a second analysis “as the situation allows”.

The report called for an increase in humanitarian assistance, food aid and food production, the provision of shelter and housing solutions for displaced people and the resumption of essential services.

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Al Jazeera and news agencies

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‘Obvious’ Sydney mall killer targeted women, Australian police say

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New South Wales Police commissioner says videos of the attack ‘speak for themselves’.

Australian police have said they believe a man who fatally six stabbed people at a busy Sydney shopping centre specifically targeted women.

Five women and one man were killed on Saturday when a 40-year-old man went on a stabbing spree in the beach suburb of Bondi.

The women killed in the attack were identified as a 55-year-old designer, a 47-year-old architect and volunteer surf lifesaver, the 25-year-old daughter of an entrepreneur, a 27-year-old student from China and a 38-year-old new mother.

A 30-year-old Pakistani security guard, who reportedly tried to stop the attacker, was the only man killed in the attack.

The majority of those injured in the attack were also women.

New South Wales state Police Commissioner Karen Webb said on Monday that it was “obvious” the suspected attacker, Joel Cauchi, singled out women.

“It’s obvious to me, it’s obvious to detectives that seems to be an area of interest that the offender focused on women and avoided the men,” Webb told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

“The videos speak for themselves, don’t they? That’s certainly a line for inquiry for us.”

Webb said officers were in the process of interviewing people close to Cauchi to gain “some insight into what he might have been thinking”.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the gender breakdown of the victims was “concerning”.

“The gender breakdown is of course concerning – each and every victim here is mourned,” he told ABC radio.

Videos shared on social media showed Cauchi, wearing shorts and an Australian national rugby league jersey, targeting mostly female victims as he rampaged through Westfield Bondi Junction shopping complex.

The attack was brought to an end when police inspector Amy Scott shot him dead.

Australia’s national flag has been set at half-mast at major venues, including the Parliament House and Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, in honour of the victims.

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Al Jazeera and news agencies

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US military says it destroyed dozens of drones fired from Iran, Yemen

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US Central Command says it hit more than 80 one-way attack drones aimed at Israel.

The United States has destroyed dozens of drones and at least six ballistic missiles aimed at Israel from Iran and Yemen, its military has said.

US forces hit more than 80 one-way attack drones, including seven UAVs targeted on the ground prior to launch, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Monday.

“Iran’s continued unprecedented, malign, and reckless behaviour endangers regional stability and the safety of U.S. and coalition forces,” CENTCOM said in a post on X

“CENTCOM remains postured to support Israel’s defense against these dangerous actions by Iran. We will continue to work with all our regional partners to increase regional security.”

CENTCOM made the announcement after Iran late on Saturday launched its first-ever attack on Israeli territory in retaliation for a suspected Israeli attack on its embassy in Syria.

The attack involving more than 300 drones and missiles caused only modest damage as most were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system or the US and its partners.

Defense of Israel Activities Update

On April 13 and the morning of April 14, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces, supported by U.S. European Command destroyers, successfully engaged and destroyed more than 80 one-way attack uncrewed aerial vehicles (OWA UAV) and at least six… pic.twitter.com/QYyk01o1Vs

— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) April 14, 2024

US President Joe Biden earlier praised US forces for their “extraordinary skill” in helping Israel take down “nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles.”

Biden described US support for Israel’s self-defence as “ironclad” but warned that Washington would not join any retaliatory action taken by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government against Tehran.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said US forces “remain postured to protect US troops and partners in the region, provide further support for Israel’s defence, and enhance regional stability.”

The threat of all-out war between Israel and Iran has put the region on tenterhooks, prompting calls for restraint from Middle Eastern neighbours and major powers.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday warned that the Middle East was on “the brink”.

“The people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating full-scale conflict. Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate,” Guterres told a UN Security Council meeting convened in response to the Iranian attack.

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Iran claims ‘right to self-defence’ in Israel attack

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Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations says his country’s drone and missile attack against Israel was ‘in the exercise of Iran’s inherent right to self-defence’. Saeid Iravani told the UN Security Council Iran is not seeking to escalate conflict in the region.

Published On 15 Apr 2024

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