A month into the war between Israel and Hamas, widespread destruction and collapsed buildings have become a common sight in the Gaza Strip. Due to the ongoing conflict, a comprehensive survey of damaged properties on the ground is currently impossible. However, analyzing imagery from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellite has provided researchers with a comprehensive look at the scale of the damage.
Since the start of the war, an estimated 27% to 35% of buildings in the northern half of the territory have likely been damaged. Throughout the entire Gaza Strip, it is estimated that between 13% and 18% of structures have been destroyed or damaged, amounting to roughly 38,000 to 51,500 buildings.
The Gaza Strip, a narrow region situated between the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, and Israel, hosts a population of over 1.5 million people, many of whom are densely packed into concrete high-rises. This has resulted in widespread damage in cities and refugee camps where people live.
The Israeli military has intensified bombing raids in the Gaza Strip, particularly in the northern region surrounding Gaza City. Their stated goal is to dismantle Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, and prevent future attacks on Israel. The Israeli government, along with the United States and the European Union, considers Hamas a terrorist organization.
The exact number of residents remaining in the northern half of the Gaza Strip is unknown. However, the United Nations estimates that over 160,000 displaced people are seeking shelter in 57 schools operated by UNRWA. An additional 117,000 displaced people are taking refuge in hospitals within Gaza City and northern Gaza.
Despite Israeli military denials, reports of airstrikes targeting hospitals in Gaza have emerged. The World Health Organization has expressed concerns about the evacuation of hospitals without endangering patients’ lives.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to exact a heavy toll on the Gaza Strip, with extensive damage to infrastructure and loss of life.