CAIRO: Egypt has announced the start of the second phase of the Gaza Strip’s reconstruction, which includes six major projects.
Ibrahim Al-Sheneqi, who is head of the Egyptian Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, said at the inauguration ceremony of the second phase that the country’s political leadership had stressed the need to seek the help of Palestinian labor, contractors, and Palestinian companies capable of implementing the projects.
“The foundations of reconstruction that were agreed upon by the two sides were laid to ease the burdens on the Palestinian people as an Egyptian contribution and to complement the Egyptian pivotal role toward the Gaza Strip,” he said.
The first stage included the removal of rubble, which was completed in 65 days, with 85,000 cubic meters of rubble removed.
The most prominent of the six projects is the development of the waterfront at the corniche, northern Gaza.
There is also the construction of residential communities across three cities. The first is called Dar Misr 1 in the Zahra area, the second city Dar Misr 2 is in Jabalia, and Dar Misr 3 is in the town of Beit Lahia.
This phase includes a project to develop important intersections in the squares of Al-Shujaiya and Al-Saraya by constructing two bridges to break the bottlenecks in the two areas.
The undersecretary of the ministry of public works and housing in Gaza, Naji Sarhan, said the announcement of the start of the second phase was taking place in conjunction with the arrival of an Egyptian engineering delegation.
He added that the delegation’s visit was in the context of discussing the plans and implementation work underway in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip after Israeli attacks in May this year.
Sarhan indicated in press statements that the ministry was discussing with the Egyptian delegation during the Gaza visits how to speed up the reconstruction process, the next steps for reconstruction, and the establishment of residential complexes.
He expected that Egypt would start the reconstruction process by constructing the three housing complexes (the American School in northern Gaza, the veterans’ area in Karama, and Al-Zahraa in the middle), which is more than the 3,000 housing units previously announced by Egypt.
Sarhan confirmed that Israeli attacks had caused direct material losses of $450 million, as well as indirect losses.
The damages to the housing sector were the demolition of nearly 1,650 housing units in total. More than 60,000 housing units suffered partial damage.
He said the direct damage to infrastructure and economic, agricultural, educational and health facilities was estimated at about $150 million, about $95 million in the economic development sector and $30 million in social development, stressing there were no commitments to completely rebuild demolished residential towers until now.
Egypt, which brokered a ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Palestinian factions, sent an engineering delegation to the Gaza Strip in mid-September to discuss reconstruction projects and advance their implementation.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi previously announced a financial grant of $500 million to support the reconstruction of Gaza.