Photo par Ezz Zanoun/Avaaz
Heavy fighting broke out in Gaza last summer after Israel launched Operation Protective Edge. The devastating 50-day conflict that followed came to a halt a year ago today, when the Israelis and Palestinians agreed to an indefinite ceasefire.
The conflict had catastrophic consequences. Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed, leaving 100,000 people homeless. More than 2,000 Palestinians were killed. Six Israeli civilians and 64 Israeli soldiers were also killed.
According to Avaaz, an online activist network, the reconstruction of Gaza could take 17 years due to severe restrictions on the import and export of raw building materials; 35 prominent aid organizations including Avaaz, Oxfam, and World Vision International are publicly calling for an end to the Gaza blockade.
Meanwhile, Gazans continue to live amid rubble that serves as an everyday reminder of the war.
Photographs by Ezz Zanoun
A family in Shuja'eya using plastic wrapping to cover the bombarded walls of their home and to divide the rooms one year after the war and zero reconstruction. Gazans are still trying to adapt to live in their destroyed homes and lead a normal life despite everything.
Cement is one of the main materials needed for reconstruction, and it is on the Israeli list of products that are not allowed into Gaza. The cement factory has also been bombed, so rebuilding relies on salvaging remains from ruins.
Daily life in Shujae'yya one year after the war ended. People still live in the rubble of their destroyed homes, while the destruction of the homes and infrastructures make it hard for people to move around, and even harder for children to play.
A family in Shujaeya light a fire in the ruins of a damaged building, as they try to keep warm during winter in the remains of their home.
670 buildings were destroyed in Shujae'ya. While a few were patched up, the sweeping majority still lie in rubble. One year after the war ended, Gazans say they are losing hope that their homes will be rebuilt, and have started to salvage whatever they can use from the rubble to patch up their bombed-out homes.
Shortage of fuel and spare parts have rendered the majority of Gaza's garbage trucks unusable for rubbish collection and the trucks require almost daily maintenance to keep running. As a result, animal carts are used instead. The Gaza Strip maintains three major landfills for its 1.5 million inhabitants — in Gaza City, Deir al-Balah in central Gaza and Rafah in the south.
Khan Younis - during last year's war - a mother and daughter were eating when their house was bombed, several members of the family were injured. The table they were eating from still stands after the blast. They never had that lunch.
Complete neighborhoods were bombarded during the war on Gaza last summer. Beit Hanoun had its share of destruction, and the destroyed homes are standing still as people continue to live their life inside or between the rubble.
Children and adolescents under the age of 18 make up slightly more than half of Gaza's nearly 2 million residents. Many are deeply traumatised after their third war in six years.
Majid Ibrahim Sukkar lost his home during the war. He put a tent above his house and a sign to say the house was his. After the war, people couldn't tell which house belonged to who, so these signs were the only way they and their families would know. Six members of the Sukkar family were killed during the war. They were the owners of a candy factory before the war but their factory was also destroyed.
A family in the neighbourhood of Khoza'a remain living in the ruins of their home.
A woman is shocked to find what remains of her home in Beit Hanoun when she visits during a humanitarian truce.
A family with 12 children in Shujae'ya. Following the ceasefire, the family rented a small apartment, but were unable to pay the rent and have now returned to live in the rubble of their bombed out house.