Wooden houses might solve Gaza housing problems

Wooden houses might solv

Two-story houses built of wood and enforced by sand bags could help alleviate the housing crisis in Gaza. An Egyptian architect has designed a house costing only $2000 to construct, without using materials such as concrete or steel, banned from entering the territory by Israel. Dr. Hisham Juraisha from the Egypt University for Science and Technology designed a house using wood, sand bags and textiles, to help the thousands of Palestinians who were left homeless following Israel's January 2009 military operation against Hamas in Gaza. While the aim is to construct family houses, according to local news sources the design can also be applied to larger buildings such as Mosques, administrative buildings and even hospitals with up to four floors. The initial reports claimed the plans had been shown to the Hamas government and were positively received but Dr. Hassan Abu Hashish, a spokesperson for the government, could neither confirm nor deny this to The Media Line. Dr. Hisham Juraisha said his inspiration came from houses along the highway between Egypt's capital Cairo and the coastal city of Alexandria. Adnan Abu Hasna, currently in Gaza with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said the area had many problems. "Right now the sewage system is nearly collapsing, millions of cubic meters of sewage water are flowing into the sea," Abu Hasna told The Media Line. "We also have a problem with electricity, every day the electricity is cut off for a number of hours and there is a lack of everything." Following the military takeover of Gaza by Hamas from the rival Palestinian party Fatah, Israel posed a blockade on Gaza and only certain goods and products such as humanitarian aid is being allowed to cross Israel to the coastal enclave. Many claim this is preventing reconstruction and leading to mass unemployment. "Among the refuges more than 300,000 live below the poverty line," Abu Hasna said. "80% of the population depends on humanitarian aid."