If the war in Gaza stopped today, it would still take until 2040 to rebuild all the homes that have been destroyed in nearly seven months of Israel’s bombardment and ground offensives in the territory, according to United Nations estimates.

The death toll in Gaza is more than 34,500 Palestinians, according to local health officials, as the territory faces a humanitarian catastrophe. The war has driven around 80% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million from their homes, caused vast destruction in several towns and cities and pushed northern Gaza to the brink of famine.

“Every additional day that this war continues is exacting huge and compounding costs to Gazans and all Palestinians” said United Nations Development Programme Administrator Achim Steiner.

At least 370,000 housing units in Gaza have been damaged, including 79,000 destroyed completely, according to the new report by the UNDP and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, which details how Israel’s assault has devastated the economy of the Palestinian territories, and how the impact will increase the longer the conflict goes on.

After previous Israel-Hamas conflicts, housing was rebuilt at a rate of 992 units year. Even if Israel allowed a five-fold increase of construction material to enter Gaza, it would take until 2040 to rebuild the destroyed houses, without repairing the damaged ones, the report said.

In Gaza, the Israeli offensive has virtually shut down the economy, which contracted 81% in the last quarter of 2023. The report said the “productive basis of the economy has been destroyed,” with sectors experienced losses of more than 90%.

Gaza has been under blockade by Israel and Egypt since Hamas’ 2007 takeover, putting tight controls on what enters and exits the territory. Even before the war, it faced “hyper-unemployment” of 45%, reaching nearly 63% among younger workers. Since the war began, it lost some 201,000 jobs.

On October 7, Palestinian militants launched an unprecedented attack into southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducting around 250 hostages. Israel believes militants still hold around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

The Israeli military claims it has killed some 13,000 militants, without providing evidence to back up the numbers.

The war has also impacted the West Bank, where for months Israel has imposed restrictions on movement. In 2024, the entire Palestinian economy — including both Gaza and the West Bank — has so far contracted 25.8%, and if the war continues the loss will reach 29% by July, equivalent to $7.6 billion, the report said.

AP Staff

Associated Press

Abdel Kareem Hana (AP), Ohad Zwigenberg (AP), Samantha Madar (AP), and Jae C. Hong (AP)