Skeletons of buildings in Gaza seven months after Operation Protective Edge.
Credit: Laura Dean

GAZA CITY — Seven months on, Gaza looks much as it did just after Operation Protective Edge, which left more than 2,000 Palestinians dead and the small territory covered in 2.5 million tons of rubble. The destruction has become part of the landscape. People move around, over and through it without a second glance.

 

Schoolchildren in Beit Hanoun #Gaza

A photo posted by Laura Dean (@lauraincairo) on

 

A man on his bike undeterred by stormy skies and destruction on either side of him in Beit Hanoun, #Gaza

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Skeletons of buildings in #Gaza seven months after Operation Protective Edge

A photo posted by Laura Dean (@lauraincairo) on

Over 100,000 people are still homeless and less than 5 percent of the $5.4 billion dollars pledged in aid has reached the Strip. At the end of January, after a shortfall of $585 million, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees had to stop providing rent subsidies to Gazans who had lost their homes as well as assistance to families whose homes are in need of minor repairs. These cuts affect around 80,000 Gazans and may mean that some families have to move back into UNRWA schools where some 10,000 displaced persons are still living.

 

Some temporary shelters in #Gaza where over 100,000 people are still homeless 7 months after Operation Protective Edge

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Homelessness is exacerbating the difficulties facing already struggling families.

In February, the anonymous street artist Banksy left his mark amidst Gaza’s rubble, once more turning the world’s attention to the besieged area.

 

Men on a motorcycle pause to look at Banksy graffiti in Beit Hanoun, #Gaza

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Banksy in #Gaza #latergram

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In the absence of formal assistance, people are trying to mend their homes as best they can.

 

Young men working on a house in Beit Hanoun destroyed during Operation Protective Edge. #Gaza

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Young men working on rebuilding a house destroyed in #Gaza last summer in Beit Hanoun

A photo posted by Laura Dean (@lauraincairo) on

But the deepest wounds wrought by the offensive are those you can’t see and will persist long after homes have been rebuilt and life has returned to what passes for normal in Gaza. Over 400,000 children are in need of psychosocial support following the offensive. The majority of children in Gaza exhibit symptoms of PTSD and the repeated trauma that stems from waves of bombardment, combined with inconsistent access to care, reduce the chances that they will ever recover.

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