The people of Gaza are long accustomed to difficult economic times and substandard living conditions, but the situation on the ground now is unprecedented as basic goods and services are no longer available.
Since the start of Al-Qassam Brigades’ unprecedented incursion into Israel on 7 October, thousands of civilians have been killed, and many soldiers have died.
And as the wider repercussions reverberate, the problems faced by Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people have become yet more bleak.
"With a staggering 4,200 people killed, over one million people displaced in just 10 days, and large areas in the Gaza Strip reduced to rubble, we have grave fears about the toll on civilians in the coming days." - @UNHumanRightsOctober 17, 2023
The Rafah border crossing – the only land route used to carry aid, fuel and food from Egypt – is closed. The Israeli government has cut off basic services to Gaza – including electricity, gas, and water –which has undermined the provision of medical care as well as basic necessities for life. As generators run dry and fuel is even more scarce, the electricity supply will deteriorate further.
Open air prison
Human Rights Watch has called Gaza an "open-air prison" before. This description became even more clear after the outbreak of war.
For more than 16 years, the Israeli authorities have wanted to isolate Gaza from the outside world due to the ongoing conflict. This had already significantly restricted the economy, leaving it based primarily on agriculture and light industry.
The existing blockade imposed on Gaza had severe consequences, including shortages of essential supplies, fertilisers for agriculture and raw materials needed for some industries.
According to Nasr Abdul Karim, professor of economic sciences at the American Arab University in Ramallah, the industrial sector is on the brink of complete collapse.