More than half of Palestinians living in the besieged Gaza Strip live below the poverty line, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said in a report yesterday.
According to the report, 29.2 per cent of Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza Strip lived below the poverty line in 2017 while 16.8 per cent suffered deep poverty.
The report noted that the poverty rate was 13.9 per cent in the occupied West Bank and 53 per cent in the besieged Gaza Strip, four times higher than that in the West Bank.
As for the deep poverty line, 5.8 per cent of individuals were below the deep poverty line in the West Bank compared to 33.8 per cent of individuals in Gaza Strip.
Gaza has been “moving steadily backwards in the past two decades from modest poverty to a human calamity," says UN special rapporteur on Palestine.
The data showed an increase in the poverty rate in 2017 compared to 2011 when it was 25.8. The deep poverty rate also increased in 2017 from 12.9 per cent in 2011 to 16.8 per cent in 2017.
The Gaza Strip has suffered under a stifling 11-year long internationally backed Israeli siege which has turned the enclave into an open prison. Severe restrictions have been placed on Palestinians and goods entering or leaving the Strip. The Palestinian Authority has exacerbated the crisis by ceasing payments to civil servants in the Gaza Strip, refusing to pay Israel for the electricity it supplies to the enclave.