IMF says Gaza reconstruction moving slowly

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The reconstruction of the Gaza Strip is going "far more slowly than expected" after a devastating war between Israel and the Hamas militant group last year, the International Monetary Fund said this week.

IMF said in a report that just over a quarter of the $3.5 billion pledged for reconstruction has been disbursed. The pledges were made at an international conference in Cairo after the end of the 50-day war last summer between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers.

Some 18,000 homes were destroyed and thousands more were damaged in the war.

Frode Mauring, the U.N. Development Program's special representative, toured damaged areas on Wednesday and said the reconstruction of thousands of houses that were totally destroyed could take "a number of years."

He said incoming money goes only where donors want it to go.

"The pledges made in Cairo for Gaza need to be honored; otherwise it will not be possible to complete the rehabilitation and reconstruction in Gaza," Mauring said. "I think the biggest constraint we have now is the funding."