Nearly 40,000 buildings, or about 18% of all pre-conflict structures, have been damaged or destroyed in the Gaza Strip since the conflict began on October 7, a UN assessment showed on Tuesday.
Israeli forces launched an air and ground attack against Hamas in Gaza following deadly cross-border attacks by the Islamist group ruling the enclave on October 7. Around 1.9 million people, or around 85% of the population, fled their homes as a result.
The latest estimate, based on a Nov. 26 image, was produced by the United Nations Satellite Center, where analysts study very high-resolution satellite images to find damaged buildings and publish maps to help guide relief efforts and reconstruction plans during natural disasters and conflicts can serve.
Estimates like these, based on high-resolution satellite imagery, may still underestimate the extent of destruction because they do not show all building damage – for example, a collapsed building with an intact roof may appear undamaged.
“The total number of damaged structures increased by 49%, highlighting the escalating impact of the conflict on civilian infrastructure,” UNOSAT said in a statement.
The assessment found that the two northern governorates of Gaza and North Gaza were the most affected, together accounting for 29,732 of the 37,379 buildings damaged or destroyed, or about 80% of the total.
A previous UN assessment on November 7 found that 25,050 buildings were damaged or destroyed, accounting for about 10% of Gaza’s total.
UNOSAT did not estimate damage by building type. Some figures provided by Gaza authorities early in the conflict suggested widespread damage to residential buildings. An estimate cited in an Oct. 21 U.N. report said at least 42% of housing units were destroyed or damaged.
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