'25% of Gaza evacuees lack housing'

Report paints grim picture of evacuees' economic, emotional, family life.

katif family in hotel298 (photo credit: )
katif family in hotel298
(photo credit: )
Five months since they were evacuated from their Gaza homes this summer, 25 percent of the former residents are still living in hotel rooms, dormitories and tents, according to a new report released Sunday by the non-profit group Lema'an Acheinu, which has been assisting the evacuees. The report paints a grim picture of the evacuees' economic, emotional and family situations, including drug and alcohol use by teens and increase divorce rates. According to the report, more than 50% have yet to receive any compensation funds, and only 5.7% of the 2,100 people who lost their jobs have found new ones. The Disengagement Authority disputes that number, however, explaining that 1,000 families have received 75% or 100% of the funds due them, while another 500 were given advances. Some 200 families have yet to receive any money, said an Authority spokesman. It added that many of those in the hotels are waiting for their temporary homes to be built. Most evacuee families expect they will have to live in temporary homes for two years while they wait for their permanent ones to be constructed. Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip Spokeswoman Emily Amrusi, who distributed the report to the media for Lema'an Acheinu, defended the numbers with respect to the compensation funds, and accused the state of lying. The state has a vested interested in making the situation sound better than it is, she said. With respect to employment, the report found that only 10% of the 2,100 people who lost their jobs as a result of disengagement have found new ones. It added that only 36 of the 130 who owned Gaza farms had relocated their agricultural businesses. Of those, only 11 did so with the help of the Disengagement Authority and the remainder found independent solutions. With respect to the 1,000 teens in 8th through 12th grade, the report found that 50 didn't register for school this year and another 50 to 100 were simply not showing up. The budget for youth leaders to work with the teens ended as of the first of this year, according to the report. It added that the state was not funding the social workers known to the teens from last year and instead had sent new ones that the teens were rejecting. For the first time, according to the report, these teens were experimenting with drugs and alcohol. There have also been a few suicide attempts, the report said. An increase in the number of divorces among the evacuee families was also found. Meanwhile, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on Sunday postponed publication of the first of his three reports on the government's handling of the disengagement from Gaza. The report deals with the protection of the settlements that ring the Gaza Strip and are vulnerable to Kassam and mortar attacks. Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.