Articles

Disaster Mitigation towards Sustainable Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Posted in 2008 Papers

Due to political, economical and social conditions dominating the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT; consisting of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip), the Palestinian people and government in the OPT face a multitude of challenges, in relation to governance, development, sustainability, and natural disasters. In this paper, several interventions that form the basis of some present and future Palestinian developmental and planning dilemmas are tackled. Among the challenges the Palestinian people facing are natural disasters. Such disasters have caused enormous losses and have set back economic progress in developed and undeveloped countries alike. On the Palestinian arena, the water shortages, the environmental degradation, and the land and natural resources' depletion, which all go hand in hand with the political conflict in the Middle East, are perceived to be the most significant anthropogenic disasters currently affecting the Palestinian people in the OPT. In addition, natural disasters are significantly considered a potential threat to the OPT's population. Earthquakes in the region are considered a major hazard, with low probability but high adverse impacts. Adding to this, the proposed Red Sea-Dead Sea Conveyance that will bring about two billion cubic meter of saline water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea will be potentially, if constructed, a huge source of induced earthquakes. Moreover, the future looks not so promising; due to the rapid population growth and the way the cities are developing in the OPT, as more than 50% of the Palestinian population lives in what is defined as "hazard-prone" areas. These areas are particularly vulnerable, because of their dependence on complex infrastructures. Moreover, the lack of knowledgeable professionals and technical capabilities in the OPT, in regard to disaster-sound management, is another reason for the current chaotic situation.

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