With a population of over two million people on a little more than 140 square miles of land, Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth. The United Nations once predicted that deteriorating living conditions would make Gaza uninhabitable by 2020, yet this small strip of land continues to be home to millions.
Some three-quarters of the population in Gaza are refugees from other parts of historic Palestine. Gaza holds eight different Palestinian refugee camps, all established in 1948 and 1949, in the aftermath of the Arab-Israel War. The camps transformed over time from tent shelters to semi-permanent housing, but poverty, overcrowding and a total absence of urban planning, unemployment, a lack of school and public infrastructure make daily life challenging.
The Gaza Strip
A blockade imposed since 2007 along Gaza’s borders has stifled its economy. Many goods are restricted or banned from export and import, including farmers’ produce and vital medical equipment. As a result, poverty is rife in Gaza, and its residents face a severe shortage of medicines and medical supplies.
Many hospitals lack modern medical equipment to treat Gaza’s sick. They face shortages of supplies like blood bags and common medications. The thousands of Palestinians who live with disabilities struggle with inaccessible facilities and inadequate care. Many in Gaza fall ill from water that is not potable and the poor sanitation that pervades communities without sewage networks. Basic life essentials like water and electricity are at a severe shortage. Due to inconsistent supply from Gaza's fuel and electricity providers, power cuts occur daily. Faucets often run dry.
Gaza Power Crisis
With hours-long electricity cuts every day, Gaza residents have a power crisis. Electric power purifies water, runs farming equipment and electronics vital to modern economies. Since Gaza's citizens aren't informed when the power will come on, they often have to drop everything to get chores and other tasks done when the lights turn on. Life in Gaza revolves around unreliable electricity, making it difficult to focus on anything else.
Gaza Palestinian Refugee Camps
Gaza is home to about 24 percent of the world's Palestinian refugees, second only to Jordan, which is home to about 40 percent. Many Palestinian refugees also live in the West Bank, Syria and Lebanon. Gaza's refugees live in eight different refugee camps.
Beach Palestinian Camp
As its name suggests, the Beach camp, known to residents as Al Shati, is located on the coast, near Gaza City. It is the northernmost refugee camp and one of the most densely crowded. Conditions are difficult — the once-beautiful sea teems with refuse because Gaza's minimal electricity is insufficient to run the region's sewage systems. The coastal aquifer, the only local source of drinking water, is contaminated and salty, so residents struggle to find potable water or vegetables that are safe to eat.
Bureij Palestinian Camp
Bureij is a modest-sized camp of about 43,000 residents. It is located near the center of Gaza. The camp is located close to a lake of open sewage, and sewage regularly flows into the nearby sea. Many residents of the camp contract gastrointestinal illnesses, and most of the water in the camp is too contaminated for residents to drink.
Jabalia Palestinian Camp
Jabalia is the largest of Gaza's refugee camps, with a refugee population of over 88,700. The camp is located in northern Gaza, close to Gaza City and near the Erez border crossing. Tens of thousands of refugees live here in an area less than two square kilometers wide, making it one of the densest urban areas in the world.
Deir Al Balah Palestinian Camp
Deir Al Balah is Gaza's smallest refugee camp, with a population of about 113,000 refugees, and is located on the central coast. Its name refers to the date palms that grow abundantly in the area. Supplies of potable water are minimal. Though fishing could potentially provide a substantial livelihood for many residents, the fishing restrictions, which the Israeli navy often enforces with live ammunition, make this livelihood impracticable.
Maghazi Palestinian Camp
The Maghazi camp, population 31,000, is located in central Gaza, not far from Bureij. This camp, with its small square footage, suffers from overcrowding and insufficient housing, as all the camps do to some degree. Poverty, unemployment and intermittent electricity all contribute to the difficulties of day-to-day living in the camp.
Khan Younis Palestinian Camp
The Khan Younis camp is located in southern Gaza, about a mile from the coast. It is one of Gaza's larger refugee camps, home to about 235,000 refugees. This camp, unlike some smaller camps, has multiple health centers and food distribution centers, but conditions are still difficult.
Nuseirat Palestinian Camp
Nuseirat is located in a central cluster of camps, near both Bureij and Maghazi. It is one of Gaza's smaller camps, both in terms of its area and number of its residents, about 161,000. It is nearer to the coast than its closest neighbors, so the dumping of untreated sewage into the sea and martially enforced fishing restrictions are heightened concerns.
Rafah Palestinian Camp
Rafah is one of Gaza's larger refugee camps — it is currently home to about 224,000 refugees. It is located in the south of Gaza, near the border with Egypt. Rafah once engaged in a small amount of commerce with Egypt through clandestine underground tunnels and by shipping truckloads of flowers over the border. These small acts of commerce have largely been curtailed, and much of the camp struggles with unemployment.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Situation in Gaza
unemployment rate in Gaza – the highest in the world.
The 10-year blockade has stifled the economy.
of Gaza's population is made up of refugees.
They were displaced from their original towns in 1948 and 1967.
of electricity per day.
Some communities go days without any electricity at all.
How to Help Gaza
A dozen years of blockade, bombings and violent protests have taken a toll on Gaza's population. The economy has constricted over the years and there is a lack of resources, from building materials to food. Several non-government organizations, including Anera, support Gaza by providing educational and livelihood opportunities, critical supplies, and infrastructure to help its residents. Anera works as part of a network of aid groups that offers health care assistance and responds to the Gaza food crisis, and also provides other resources required to meet basic needs.
What Happens When You Donate to Gaza
You can help people in Gaza better confront the challenges they face every day and lead dignified lives. With your support, Anera has been able to alleviate some of those difficulties. Anera donors ship vital medicines, blood bags and equipment to its hospitals. Our community of supporters builds and renovates facilities to assist Gaza's people living with disabilities. Together we install water and sewage networks, so the streets are clean and dry, and homes have reliable access to water. We’re building preschools and training teachers so that Gaza’s children get the education they deserve. We're also helping Gaza families turn fallow lands into small farms that put food on the table and create income.
When you donate to Gaza, you’re helping ensure that Anera can provide relief during emergencies. Anera is one of the few Gaza aid and relief organizations that can consistently and reliably bring in much-needed supplies, like medicine, food and clothes. To learn more about why, read our Gaza FAQs.
Anera's staff come from the communities they serve, so they understand what their neighbors need to live dignified lives. For more information about our work in Palestine, see our general FAQs.
Make a contribution to Gaza refugees today.