- Title: GAZA: Deprived of concrete, Gaza residents build clay houses
- Date: 1st May 2009
- Summary: NORTHERN GAZA (APRIL 29, 2009) (REUTERS) DESTROYED BUILDING AND TENTS NEARBY DESTROYED BUILDINGS NEAR DIRT ROAD LINE OF TENTS WHERE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SLEEPING SINCE BUILDINGS WERE DESTROYED IN JANUARY PALESTINIAN FLAG FLYING OVER SMALL HUT, WOMEN WITH CHILDREN UNDERNEATH RAFAH, GAZA (APRIL 29, 2009) (REUTERS) CONSTRUCTION SITE A ND CLAY BRICKS LYING ON GROUND HEAPS OF CLAY WORKER POURING WATER INTO PIT FILLED WITH CLAY WORKER STEPPING INTO PIT WITH TOOL TO MIX WATER WITH CLAY MASON USING TROWEL TO SHAPE CLAY BRICK NEAR OTHER BRICKS BRICKLAYER PLACING BRICK ONTO WALL UNDER CONSTRUCTION BRICKLAYER WITH TROWEL APPLYING MORTAR TO BRICK IN WALL UNDER CONSTRUCTION BUILDER NIDAL EID SITTING ON BRICK WALL UNDER CONSTRUCTION EID TALKING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GAZA RESIDENT AND BUILDER, NIDAL EID SAYING: "I am building a house in the style I want. You can build a fireplace and a clay oven. The kitchen can be built with ceramic inside. It will be deluxe." EXTERIOR OF HOUSE MADE OF STRAW AND CLAY WITH PLASTIC ROOF HELD DOWN BY TYRES WOODEN PLANKS IN CEILING OF HOUSE AND INTERIOR SHOWING CLAY WALLS OIL LAMP ON SHELF IN ALCOVE BUILT INTO WALL BOOKS AND SMALL ITEMS LYING ON SHELVES BUILT INTO CLAY WALL ELECTRIC OUTLET AND SWITCH EMBEDDED INTO CLAY WALL WIDE OF KITCHEN POTTERY ON SHELVES JIHAD AL SHAER, RESIDENT OF CLAY HOUSE, WALKING INTO BEDROOM AND LIFTING BEDDING TO SHOW CLAY BASE OF BED (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RAFAH RESIDENT JIHAD AL SHAER SAYING: "People want to get married. Others want to rebuild their houses. Some are living in tents or in the street. Others are paying 150 or 200 United States dollars to rent a house. When they build a house, it will cost them 3000 United States dollars for two years' rent. God knows when we will get the cement." GARDEN OUTSIDE AL SHAER'S HOUSE AND BENCH SWING
- Embargoed: 16th May 2009 18:24
- Topics: Industry
- Reuters ID: LVA7MCV0P5PLCA50PGKHI11ZIBCO
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Three months after Israel's military onslaught in Gaza, some Palestinians have given up waiting for cement supplies to rebuild their homes and have started using clay instead.
More than three months after the end of the Israeli military onslaught in Gaza, which killed hundreds of Palestinians and destroyed or damaged thousands of homes, residents are still waiting for the reconstruction materials they need to rebuild their homes.
In the northern Gaza Strip where hundreds of houses were demolished by Israeli forces in the three-week war in January, many residents are still sheltering in the ruins of their concrete houses or in tents donated by relief organisations.
Faced with Israel's continued blockade of Gaza and an ongoing split between the main Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, builders lack the concrete and steel usually used to construct buildings.
As a result, builders are resorting to one of the only building materials available: clay.
Homes of red, fired brick, tiled roofs and timber, of the sort common in the West and China, are rare in the Middle East and the Palestinian territories, where heavy constructions of reinforced concrete and cement block are the rule.
In Rafah, builder Nidal Eid has turned to clay construction, which he says gives him the flexibility he needs to build a decent house.
"I am building a house in the style I want. You can build a fireplace and a clay oven. The kitchen can be built with ceramic inside. It will be deluxe," Eid said.
Jihad Al Shaer also got tired of waiting for Israel to allow cement and steel into the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and took matters into his own hands, building a house of clay bricks. His roof consists of timber and nylon sheeting.
His house is wired for electricity, has built-in shelving, and even a solid clay base for his bed.
Though it is a novel construction technique for Gaza, Al-Shaer says his idea is catching on. Unlike cement and steel, clay is readily available.
Gazans visit his two-room house regularly to take a look and several have said they would like to copy the idea and start building their own clay shelters.
Al Shaer says he built his house for 3,000 United States dollars and that it stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
"People want to get married. Others want to rebuild their houses.
Some are living in tents or in the street. Others are paying 150 or 200 United States dollars to rent a house. When they build a house it will cost them 3000 United States dollars in two years' rent. God knows when we will get the cement," Al Shaer said.
Donor countries pledged four billion United States dollars for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in January, but Gaza officials say the work cannot begin before Israel fully opens its crossings.
There appears to be little chance of that as long as Hamas and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, remain at loggerheads.
Hamas refuse to recognise Israel, while Fatah seeks a peace pact with the Jewish state and the creation of a Palestinian state alongside it.
Since the Islamists seized control of Gaza in 2007, ousting Fatah forces, Israel has completely blocked the entry of cement and steel, which it says Hamas will use for military purposes.
The January offensive Israel launched was intended to stop Hamas and other militant groups firing rockets into southern Israel, Israel's government said.
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