Getting Ambitious With Clay: Going Back To Their Roots

Categories: Construction Methods

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have entered their 11th year under a suffocating siege imposed by Israel. The blockade dictates the day-to-day reality for people in Gaza, where Israel controls the borders, airspace, and waters.  Gaza's isolation has devastated its economy, impoverished much of the Strip's two million people, and left them without adequate electricity, water and health services. 

June 2017 also marks the tenth year of Hamas' rule over the Strip, after the group won elections in 2006 and pushed out its rival, Fatah, which refused to recognise the vote.  

"The economic situation we're experiencing since the 2006 elections until today is a complex reality. Every year, the living, humanitarian and social situation gets progressively worse." 

"We're talking about some 17,000 to 18,000 university students graduating each year who have not been able to find work."

"Even the industrial and production sectors, which used to offer more than 120,000 job opportunities, now do not offer more than 7,000 opportunities. The construction sector is practically idle and out of business; it used to contribute to about 22 percent of local production and offered some 70,000 opportunities."

"In the sectors of education, health, infrastructure, there have been major problems, especially in water and sanitation. Water today in Gaza is not suitable for drinking or human use. We are on the brink of an environmental and health catastrophe."

On a searing summer morning, workers are adding layers to the mud-brick police station being constructed in Sheikh Zayed, northern Gaza.

“We started building on Jun. 20,” saysMohammed el-Sheikh ‘Eid, a consultant engineer with Gaza’s Ministry of Interior. “Since this is the first time we’ve built something on this scale with mud bricks, we can’t estimate exactly how much longer it will take to complete. Maybe another two months or so.” 

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