The fighting in Gaza has forced farmers and herders to abandon their lands and has paralyzed fishing activities, bringing local food production to a halt and severely affecting livelihoods, Food and Agriculture Organization FAO has warned. Recovery in the agriculture sector, once hostilities cease, will require significant external assistance over the long term.
The recent fighting has resulted in substantial direct damage to Gaza's 17,000 hectares of croplands as well as much of its agricultural infrastructure, including greenhouses, irrigation systems, animal farms, fodder stocks and fishing boats.
According to the latest update by the FAO/World Food Programme (WFP)-coordinated Food Security Sector (FSS), Gaza has lost half of its population of poultry birds (broilers and layers) either due to direct hits on their shelters or lack of water, feed or care resulting from access restrictions.
Around 64,000 head of small ruminants are in need of animal feed and water in order to avoid further animal deaths and the additional erosion of herders' productive assets.
Meanwhile losses by Gaza's fishing sector so far are estimated at 234.6 tonnes over the period 9 July - 10 August --equivalent to 9.3 percent of local fishers' yearly catch.
FAO, with support from Canada, will distribute fodder to feed 55 000 small ruminants throughout Gaza for 45 days. The Organization is also positioned to distribute 4 000, 1-cubic metre water tanks to help herders water their animals.