The Israeli military operation that lasted from July 8 to August 26, 2014 in the Gaza Strip has led to massive displacement and destruction of buildings and urban systems (ex. water, electricity, sanitation). This has greatly exacerbated an already precarious situation as the long blockade of the Gaza Strip had resulted in acute vulnerabilities, including a serious housing shortfall. On one hand, neighborhoods have been partially or completely abandoned and return will depend on restoring of basic functionalities and emergency housing support. In some cases quick return will not be possible in view of the scale of destruction. On the other hand, neighborhoods that have received displaced families are overstretched. Some neighborhoods witnessed both concentrated destruction and inward migration. An overall picture of the urban conditions of neighborhood, such as shelter, infrastructure, commercial and social services conditions, can help to prioritize, localize and streamline immediate and longer term interventions. and unleash opportunities that must be capitalized on. Of particular importance, is the need to understand the crisis impacts on vulnerable groups; especially women and children and the poorest communities throughout the Strip.
UN Habitat seeks to provide up to date urban analysis of the impact of the crisis in key cities of Gaza, with focus on most affected neighborhoods, through City Profiles, synthesizing information and insight from existing sources and priority sectors, supplemented by direct field research by UN Habitat teams. Worth mentioning that UN Habitat expertise in urban analysis, community approaches and crisis contexts have informed the development of the City Profiling process in Syria.
In operational terms, urban or city profiles use GIS based mapping to analyze and present the impact of crisis in each affected city or urban neighborhood, taking into consideration damage and displacement, and how they impact a range of sectors including basic infrastructure, shelter, education, health, local economy. It considers the interrelationships between each sector and assesses local capacity within each. The structure of the City Profile provides baseline and current situation data to measure the impact of the crisis accompanied by narrative description and analysis.
Gaza City profiles are being developed in close coordination with the active institutions that are currently involved in the work on Gaza crisis. These include a wide range of local and international actors such central and local governments institutions, humanitarians aid agencies ,other relevant UN agencies, and the international donor community. Of particular significance is the collaboration and coordination with all the institutions who are working on damage assessments at various stages and levels, as the urban profiles intend to consolidate existing damages data, analyze and update them. For the completion of priority areas profiles, support is needed to accommodate further data collection and updating.