Mother-of-six Suad Sultan, 54, cannot hide her fear that the coming year will be all but impossible for her family along with other residents of the Gaza Strip.
After years of conflict, and with no political or economic solutions on the horizon, living conditions in the Palestinian enclave are steadily worsening.
Two of Sultan’s children are university graduates, but are unable to find work and build their own families, just as her husband cannot find a job with a steady income.
“We are on the threshold of a new year, but I can see no difference between last year and the coming year. All I see is another year of suffering,” Sultan said.
In 2012, the UN Conference on Trade and Development predicted that the Gaza Strip could become “uninhabitable by 2020.”
“The social, health and security implications of high demographic growth and overpopulation are among the factors that may make Gaza uninhabitable by 2020,” the report said. The Gaza Strip suffers from a scarcity of water sources. Up to 97 percent of the groundwater is unsuitable for drinking, forcing the local population to buy supplies from itinerant vendors.
A shortage of medical services is another pressing problem. Sultan said: “I don’t care about official reports, positive or negative. The circumstances on the ground show that we are in a very bad situation.”
High unemployment adds to the enclave’s woes, with up to 60 percent of young people unable to find work. “We have been living in an uninhabitable place for many years,” Ali Salman, 31, a freelance nurse said.
“Things have been getting complicated since the war in 2014, and if you look at our situation you will find that the elements of life are absent here. The electricity is cut off, infrastructure is destroyed, water is not safe to drink, transportation is difficult and agriculture continues to deteriorate.
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