Israel has left Gaza ‘more bombed out than Dresden’: analysis

  • Post last modified:May 8, 2024
  • Reading time:4 mins read

As well as killing more than 34,000 people and causing catastrophic levels of hunger and injury, Israel’s genocide in Gaza has also caused massive material destruction.

Corey Scher, a PhD candidate at the City University of New York, has been researching satellite imagery of Gaza. He said:

The rate of damage being registered is unlike anything we have studied before. It is much faster and more extensive than anything we have mapped.

As Israel launches an offensive on Rafah, the last population centre in Gaza yet to be entered by its ground troops, we look at the territory’s shattered landscape seven months into the genocide.

Israel has destroyed three-quarters of Gaza City

Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on the planet, where before the war 2.3 million people had been living on a 365-square-kilometre (140-square-mile) strip of land.

According to satellite analyses by Scher and Jamon Van Den Hoek, an associate professor of geography at Oregon State University, 56.9% of Gaza buildings were damaged or destroyed as of April 21, making a total of 160,000.

Scher said:

The fastest rates of destruction were in the first two to three months of the bombardment.

In Gaza City, home to some 600,000 people before Israel’s offensive, the situation is dire: Israel has damaged or destroyed almost three-quarters (74.3%) of its buildings.

Five hospitals now rubble

Gaza’s hospitals have been repeatedly attacked by Israel, all potential violations of international law.

In the first six weeks of Israel’s onslaught “60% of healthcare facilities… were indicated as damaged or destroyed”, Scher said.

The territory’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa in Gaza City, was targeted in two offensives by the Israeli army, the first in November, the second in March.

The World Health Organization said the second operation reduced the hospital to an “empty shell” strewn with human remains.

Five hospitals have been completely destroyed, according to figures compiled by AFP from the OpenStreetMap project, the Hamas health ministry and the United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT). Fewer than one in three hospitals – 28% – are partially functioning, according to the UN.

Over 70% of schools damaged

The territory’s largely UN-run schools, where many civilians have sought refuge from the fighting, have also paid a heavy price.

As of April 25, UNICEF counted 408 schools that Israel had damaged, representing at least 72.5% of its count of 563 facilities.

Of those, Israel has completely destroyed 53 school buildings and damaged 274 others by direct fire.

The UN estimates that two-thirds of the schools will need total or major reconstruction to be functional again.

Regarding places of worship, combined data from UNOSAT and OpenStreetMap show 61.5% of mosques have been damaged or destroyed.

Israel has left Gaza more bombed-out than Dresden

The level of destruction in northern Gaza has surpassed that of the German city of Dresden, which was firebombed by Allied forces in 1945 in one of the most controversial Allied acts of World War II.

According to a US military study from 1954, quoted by the Financial Times, the bombing campaign at the end of World War II damaged 59% of Dresden’s buildings.

In late April, the head of the UN mine clearance programme in the Palestinian territories, Mungo Birch, said there was more rubble to clear in Gaza than in Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia more than two years ago.

The UN estimated that as of the start of May, the post-war reconstruction of Gaza would cost between 30 billion and 40 billion dollars.

Additional reporting via AFP

Featured image via AFP – YouTube

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