*** ----> Gaza economy shrank by more than 80% in 4th quarter due to conflict: World Bank | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Gaza economy shrank by more than 80% in 4th quarter due to conflict: World Bank

AFP | Washington                                                      

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

The Israel-Hamas war has had a "catastrophic" impact on Gaza's infrastructure and caused its economy to contract by more than 80 percent in the fourth quarter of the year, the World Bank said.

The ongoing conflict has caused widespread damage and destruction across Gaza, and caused a "massive loss of life," the Bank said a statement.

Israel's retaliatory campaign has killed almost 30,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the latest count by the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.

Beyond the devastating human impact, "Almost all economic activity in Gaza has ground to a halt," the Bank said.

"Since the start of the conflict, the Palestinian economy experienced one of largest shocks recorded in recent economic history," it added.

The World Bank pointed to preliminary estimates from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), which found that Gaza's GDP has "plummeted by more than 80 percent" -- from around $670 million in the third quarter to just $90 million in the fourth quarter.

This 80 percent quarterly decline amounts to an annual a drop of 24 percent, the Bank continued, adding that "the observed level of fixed assets damage and destruction is catastrophic."

"Nearly every resident of Gaza will live in poverty, at least in the short term," it said.

Amid the ongoing conflict, the Bank announced a $30 million grant Thursday "to help ensure the continuity of crucial education for children."

"This grant will contribute to the education sector to help ensure that learners don't miss out on essential education," it said in a statement.