New York Quake Overdue (The Sixth Seal) (Revelation 6:12)

New York City Is Overdue For Large Earthquake: Seismologist

New York City could start shaking any minute now.

Won-Young Kim, who runs the seismographic network for the Northeast at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said the city is well overdue for a big earthquake.

From Metro New York:

The last big quake to hit New York City was a 5.3-magnitude tremor in 1884 that happened at sea in between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook. While no one was killed, buildings were damaged.

Kim said the city is likely to experience a big earthquake every 100 years or so.

“It can happen anytime soon,” Kim said. “We can expect it any minute, we just don’t know when and where.”

New York has never experienced a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake, which are the most dangerous. But magnitude 5 quakes could topple brick buildings and chimneys.

Seismologist John Armbruster said a magnitude 5 quake that happened now would be more devastating than the one that happened in 1884.

“Today, with so many more buildings and people … we’d see billions in damage,” Armbruster said. “People would probably be killed.”

The Upgraded Chinese Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Attack! Here Are All the Wonder Weapons China Just Showed Off

Key point: Beijing is well on its way to being a peer power.

On October 1, 2019 the People’s Republic of China’s celebrated the seventieth anniversary of its official founding after Mao Zedong consolidated the Chinese Communist Party’s control over mainland China.

For the occasion, Beijing paraded cutting-edge military systems on Tiananmen Square deemed ready to unveil before audiences both domestic and international.

Formerly reliant on reverse-engineered Soviet weapons from the 1950s, China has leveraged forty years of sustained economic growth to not only develop new tanks, jet fighters and aircraft carriers, but has invested heavily in combat drones, stealth technology, and long-range guided missiles.

By-now familiar weapons on display included Wing Loong-II combat drones used extensively in combat in Libya, the Type 15 light tank intended for operations on the Tibetan Plateau, and DF-26 missiles with enough range to strike Guam and guidance systems designed to enable targeting of moving aircraft carriers.

But the parade also showcased several advanced new weapons, including several types which so far have no equivalent in service elsewhere on the planet.  Let’s look at six systems in particular that received the red carpet treatment in the recent parade.

DF-17 Hypersonic Missiles:

The long, weirdly flat-looking missiles mounted on trucks are DF-17 ballistic missiles designed to deploy a triangular DF-Z hypersonic glide vehicle. Hypersonic weapons travel five to ten times the speed of sound—that equates to one to two miles per second—but unlike similarly speedy long-range ballistic missiles, do so on a much flatter trajectory which makes them harder to detect and intercepts—leaving enemies with only a few minutes to react.

Moreover, unlike older ballistic missiles, hypersonic glide vehicles are maneuverable, meaning they could potentially evade anti-ballistic missile interceptors like the THAADs and SM-3s used to protect U.S. ships and bases in East Asia.

The DF-17 missile is estimated to have a range of around 1,200 miles and its re-entry vehicle, which can carry both conventional or nuclear warheads, can supposedly be re-targeted mid-flight.

HSU-001 Drone Submarine:

China is also the first country to openly deploy a large-displacement unmanned underwater vehicle (LDUUV)—basically a fully-robotic submarine capable of long-range missions.

Naval warfare theorist expect that unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) will eventually serve alongside manned submarines in undersea warfare. But so far only small, short-range UUVs have seen much use, particularly to recover objects form the sea floor.

Because it’s difficult to maintain a drone command link to an undersea vehicle, a large, long-range UUV (LDUUV) would have to be fully autonomous—that is, capable of carrying out its mission without any human input.

China’s LDUUV design doesn’t appear to have any torpedo tubes and is therefore presumably an underwater surveillance platform.  Two sensor masts are visible, as well as likely a large sonar aperture behind its flat nose.  The HSU-001 could prove highly useful for long-endurance missions monitoring the movements of U.S. Navy submarines and surface warships—data which could be periodically transmitted back to the mainland via satellite antenna while near the surface.

DR-8 Spy Drone

The DR-8 is a blade-like supersonic spy drone designed to soar over the Pacific ocean at speeds ranging between three and five times the speed of sound using a mysterious propulsion system.

As discussed in this earlier piece by David Axe, the DR-8 appears may have been influenced by the American high-speed D-21 spy drone, several of which were recovered after unsuccessful spy missions.

According to the South China Morning Post, the DR-8 is intended to provide post-strike damage-assessment of attacks by truck-borne DF-21D and DF-26B ‘carrier killing’ missiles, which can theoretically strike moving ships from over one or two thousand miles away from the Chinese mainland.

“Sharp Sword” Stealth Combat Drone

Beijing also revealed its manta-shaped Hongdu GJ-11 Lijian (“Sharp Sword”) stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAV).  These would not only be difficult to detect with radar but can also carry over two tons of laser-guided bombs or missiles in two internal weapons bays.

One of a half-dozen designs spawned from the AVIC 601-S stealth drone research program, Sharp Sword made its first flight in 2013—making it the first stealth UCAV to have been developed by a non-NATO country, though in 2018 Russia showcased its own stealth UCAV.

A reconnaissance variant of the GJ-11 will reportedly debut in service on Chinese Type 001A aircraft carriers, used for surveillance and reconnaissance missions and gathering targeting data for missile strikes.  However, its weapon could allow it to be used for penetrating strikes against heavily defended targets.

H-6N Long-Range Bomber

The PLA Air Force and Navy both operate the H-6 long-range strategic jet bomber, a domestic copy of the Soviet Tu-16 ‘Badger’.  Like the U.S. B-52, the H-6 can’t go anywhere near enemy fighters or air-defense missiles but can safely truck along very long-range missiles.

Photos of the new H-6N model reveal two key characteristics.  First, it has an in-flight refueling probe which should extend the bomber’s range to 3,700 miles.

Second, the H-6N’s fuselage appears to have a cavity that would allow it to carry a huge air-launched ballistic missile adapted from the ground-launched DF-21 ballistic missile.

While early H-6s carried nuclear gravity bombs, China does not currently maintain any air-deployed nuclear weapons.  If H-6Ns are able to carry nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, however, Beijing did not see fit to reveal that in its 2019 parade.

Hunting Eagle Gyrocopters

One of the more bizarre items trucked along in the parade were two-seat Shaanxi Baoji ‘Hunting Eagle’ gyrocopters.

Gyrocopters, or auto-gyros, resemble helicopters, but their top rotors are unpowered. Instead, a horizontal “pusher” engine propels them forward, generating airflow which automatically turns the top rotor for an upwards lift.  Gyrocopters are lighter, smaller and cheaper than helicopters and can land in tighter spaces—but they’re also slower, cannot take off vertically and require skill to pilot safely. You can see a Hunting Eagle in flight here.

Why is the PLA showcasing something usually considered a light recreational vehicle?  According to Kyle Mizokami at Popular Mechanics, the Hunting Eagle will be used for “search and rescue, border control, reconnaissance, anti-riot, and other roles. It will also be used to self-deploy Chinese special forces on missions into enemy territory.”

A caveat, however, is that the Hunting Eagle, which also comes in a three-seat version, would be constrained by short range.

So China’s gyrocopter-riding commandoes may not constitute a world-ending superweapon, but they are kind of neat.

Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring. This first appeared ealier in October 2019.

Image: Reuters

More Radioactive Leaks Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Left to right, John Sullivan, Marilyn Elie, Margot Frances, Manna Jo Greene and Jeanne Shaw, members of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, in front of an inflatable, life-size nuclear waste cask last week. Abby Luby Photo

Red Flags Raised Over Radioactive Waste at Indian Point Plants

October 8, 2019 By Abby Luby

The closure and dismantling of Indian Point plants 2 and 3 in 2020 and 2021, respectively, have raised red flags about the storage and handling of more than 1,700 tons of dangerous radioactive waste.

At a public meeting last Wednesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) answered questions about the decommissioning process. About 90 people crowded into the Morabito Community Center in Cortlandt to ask Bruce Watson, NRC chief of the reactor decommissioning branch, about the regulatory agency’s oversight role during the plant closures.

For three hours, many were frustrated with the unreliable audio system that made it difficult to hear the speakers. A major concern was about Holtec International, a family-owned corporation based in Camden, N.J., slated to purchase, dismantle Indian Point and manage the irradiated nuclear fuel. Although Holtec has more than 30 years’ experience handling radioactive waste, it has come under scrutiny for fast-tracking decommissioning of nuclear plants.

Holtec proposes to dispose of the waste in as little as eight years; the NRC allows 60 years for the process.

Holtec is a company with a record of bribery, lies and risk-taking. We know the NRC allowed the company into plants in New Jersey and Massachusetts even before objections by citizens’ groups were heard,” charged Richard Webster, legal director for Riverkeeper.

“Can you describe the NRC’s role in approving and selecting companies like Holtec for decommissioning?” asked Peekskill City Councilman Colin Smith during the meeting.

Watson replied that the agency is not privy to contractual details or sale agreements.

“Our sole responsibility is to ensure the applicant is licensed and has the technical and financial ability to own a particular plant,” he said.

When Smith asked for an estimated timeline for transporting the spent fuel rods, Watson said, “Congress promised to take care of high-level waste when they encouraged all these plants to be built. It’s in their ballpark to facilitate the disposal of the spent fuel. It’s way below my pay grade to make that kind of policy. I wish I had an answer for you.”

NRC’s oversight role with Holtec directly ties into the formation of Community Advisory Boards (CABs) as stipulated in a federal law under the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act. Watson indicated that the NRC would be checking in regularly with the progress of the decommissioning, but acknowledged that a heavier oversight role would be put on the Community Advisory Boards.

Many have questioned the authority of the newly formed local CAB, chaired by Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker with Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi serving as vice chair.

“We are all in this together,” said Puglisi in defense of the CAB. “We created a task force two years ago when we learned of the decommissioning and have been meeting monthly. We have a large membership including business people, environmentalists, school officials, chamber of commerce, county executives from Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange, along with state representatives.” Puglisi told the NRC to officially recognize the group as a Community Advisory Panel rather than a board.

Knickerbocker said the Community Advisory Panel was a diverse group with Indian Point supporters and critics.

“We are the eyes and ears and the voice for our community,” she said. “Our agenda is the safe decommissioning of Indian Point. This panel will drive the bus for decommissioning.”

The watchdog group Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC) has supported a funded Citizens Oversight Board comprised of impartial members, independent scientists, experts, first responders, plant workers, environmentalists and other informed stakeholders.

“The board should have a budget to hire experts and have appointed environmentalists and volunteers who hold monthly, open meetings,” said IPSEC member Marilyn Elie.

IPSEC maintains a CAB made up of local politicians who might have financial or economic agendas is problematic. IPSEC has drafted citizens’ oversight board legislation that is expected to be introduced to state, county and local lawmakers in January.

Assemblywoman Sandra Galef (D-Ossining) told Watson the NRC should fund the CAB.

“The NRC allowed the nuclear plants to be here, and now that they are being decommissioned, you should be sponsoring and funding the CABs using money in the federal government budget,” Galef said.

Although Indian Point units 2 and 3 generate about 2,000 megawatts of electricity, Con Ed no longer gets electricity from Indian Point. In 2017, the contract between Con Ed and Entergy expired and was not renewed, according to the utility. Up to that point, Indian Point supplied only 560 megawatts to Con Ed.

With competing solar and wind markets offering cheaper energy, Entergy’s high price for electricity has priced the company out of the market. Today, Entergy is closing its aging plants across the country.

An upcoming forum on decommissioning Northeast nuclear plants is scheduled for this Thursday, Oct. 10 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at Hendrick Hudson Free Library in Montrose.

RIP to the Human Race (Revelation 16)

RIP: The Era of Arms Control Is Over

There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it: the era of arms control is slowly unraveling underneath our noses.  And U.S. national security officials don’t appear to have any intention of doing much to stop it.

In a span of 15 months, the United States has unilaterally withdrawn from two major arms control agreements. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty are two completely different pacts meant to address two completely different problems—the first was a multilateral solution to a potential nuclear proliferator; the second a legacy of the Cold War—but both were quite effective at putting some guardrails on what could have very well been a period of further proliferation. With the JCPOA barely holding water, the INF as dead as disco, and the Open Skies Treaty reportedly next on the chopping block, it’s increasingly looking arms control is a dying concept.

Today, there is only one agreement between the United States and Russia that is preventing the two nuclear-armed superpowers from going their own way and building as many nuclear weapons as they wish. The New START treaty, ratified by the U.S. Senate nine years ago, restricts the number of nuclear warheads both sides can deploy at any one time to 1,550 and caps the number of deployed launchers (ICBM’s, SLBM’s and bombers) to 700. The treaty keeps Washington and Moscow honest by allowing both to conduct on-site inspections and verification missions on each other’s territory. Information exchanges are formalized under the treaty as well, which in turn gives U.S. and Russian intelligence officials additional confidence that the nuclear restrictions spelled out in the treaty are being met.

There is only one problem: if Washington and Moscow don’t get to work soon and extend New START for another five years, the entire treaty—and all of the restrictions, caps, and verification protocols embedded within it—will disappear by February 2021.

An extension should be a no-brainer for both parties, none of whom would be served in a world where strategic stability and predictability are removed. Adding time on the clock is the kind of rare, low-hanging that the U.S. and Russia shouldn’t think twice in gobbling up—especially when the bilateral relationship is becoming exceedingly toxic. The Russians are ready to give the agreement a new lease on life and indeed have been ready for quite a while. The U.S., on the other hand, is foolishly allowing the expiration date to come closer and closer without any action whatsoever.

There are a number of reasons for the Trump administration’s indecision. Some officials (like ex-national security adviser John Bolton) are philosophically opposed to arms control agreements, arguing that they inherently disadvantage the United States by limiting its freedom of movement while allowing other competitors to catch in both capability and raw numbers. Trump seems ambivalent about a New START extension for personal and political reasons: personal because he views himself as the grand wizard of dealmaking; political because New START is a product of the Obama presidency. Many others, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, are concerned that keeping New START as is would let China off the hook at a time when the Asian power is in the process of modernizing its strategic weapons systems and building up its already considerable ballistic missile inventory.

There is some legitimacy to the China angle. Gen. Robert Ashley, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, assessed this May that Beijing could double its nuclear weapons stockpile over the next decade. Nobody—not the United States, not Russia, not India, and certainty not Japan—wants to see a China with 500 or 600 nuclear warheads. Academically, bringing the Chinese into strategic stability talks and prodding them into a trilateral arms control deal makes a good deal of sense.

Practically speaking, however, it’s next to impossible for the Trump administration to actually achieve this objective. While Chinese officials likely wouldn’t oppose discussions with Washington and Moscow on general principles such as clarifying one another’s nuclear doctrines and improving communication to minimize misunderstandings, they are strongly opposed to becoming a party to a revised New START. In the eyes of the Chinese national security establishment, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to pretend that their nuclear arsenal is part of the problem when the U.S. and Russia continue to possess a combined 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads.  With an arsenal at roughly 1/22nd the size of the United States, China sees no reason to agree to its own reductions as long as the U.S. and Russia continue to have thousands between them.  As a top Chinese nuclear expert told the Carnegie Endowment’s George Perkovich this summer, “even if China doubled its arsenal to 600 weapons and deployed them, that would still be thousands less than the United States and Russia each have.”

The Trump administration apparently hasn’t gotten the memo from the Chinese: if you think we are going to participate in a trilateral reduction agreement when you still have over 6,000 nukes under your nose, you’re dreaming.

It’s understandable why President Trump would court a three-way nuclear deal instead of simply adding five more years to New START, a pact that doesn’t include China at all. Compared to an extension of a previous treaty, a new comprehensive U.S.-Russia-China agreement encompassing all different types of weapons, from tactical nukes to hypersonic weapons, would be a blockbuster of an accomplishment.

The keyword, though, is “would.”  Back on planet Earth, such an accord is the stuff of fiction. It’s not going to happen, period. And to hold the last U.S.-Russia arms control agreement hostage to a childlike fantasy is deeply irresponsible.

Daniel DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities, a foreign policy organization focused on promoting a realistic grand strategy to ensure American security and prosperity.

Image: Reuters.

Nuclear Conflict, Nuclear Winter (Revelation 8)

Climate change and nuclear conflict between India, Pakistan are real dangers. They need to be addressed

The trigger for a major conflict lies clearly in Pakistan, and this should be made clear to them through diplomatic channels. Meanwhile, our own hyper-triumphalism should not propel us in a direction that would directly lead to a conflict.

Written by Karan Singh |

Updated: October 22, 2019 9:37:24 am

Since the recent dramatic changes in Jammu & Kashmir, Imran Khan has in every speech ended up by more or less threatening a nuclear war. (Illustration: C R Sasikumar)

When I meet any of my six grandchildren, I often wonder what India will be like when they reach my age, which will be around the end of the century. I’m sure they will have been tremendous progress in many fields, but there are two areas that I find particularly worrying. The first is the continuing environmental degradation and global warming, which are creating serious problems. The air we breathe and the waters of our rivers have become highly polluted and unless this trend is reversed, we will face serious and widespread health problems in the years and decades to come. Climate change, in fact, is now one of the most serious challenges facing the human race, impacting as it does the entire world without exception, and it can only be tackled on a global basis. It is nothing short of tragic that the world’s most powerful country has pulled out of the painstakingly crafted Paris agreement

Extreme weather conditions are already wreaking havoc around the world — lethal hurricanes are regularly hitting the American continent, and the melting of glaciers is causing ocean levels to rise due to which at least a dozen countries will disappear from the face of the earth over the next two decades. The fact that thousands of animal, plant and insect species are becoming extinct every year adds to a deeply disturbing scenario. In our own country, erratic weather patterns have seen on the one hand whole cities being drowned, while on the other, there are prolonged droughts threatening the livelihood of millions of farmers. The great Himalayan range itself, which from time immemorial has defined the geography of India, is now threatened with pollution, and the sacred streams emerging there from, particularly the holy Ganga, are also heavily polluted. Environmental pollution threatens the livelihood of millions of our citizens and unless it can be reversed, it is likely to deteriorate further. This, in turn, will cause civil strife and sharpen inter-state conflicts over the sharing of river waters.

The second and even more serious concern is with regard to the possibility of a nuclear conflict. While we tend to dismiss Pakistan’s bluster as “nuclear blackmail”, we have now got into a situation of extreme danger. My fear is not that either India or Pakistan will be unwise to start a nuclear war. The real danger is that if an Islamist organisation, perhaps even without the approval of the Pakistan government, were to launch a major terrorist attack on India, our retaliation could lead to a major conflict. What this means, in effect, is that the destiny of our children and grandchildren rests not with the governments of our two countries but with rogue terrorist groups fuelled by a fundamentalist ideology.

A few days ago, I read a statement by some Islamist leader in Pakistan who said, in effect, that even if Pakistan is annihilated in a nuclear war it would not matter because there are dozens of other Islamic countries in the world, but at least we would wipe out idolatrous Hinduism off the face of the earth. In the face of such statements, the danger of being willy-nilly pushed into a conflagration which could end in a nuclear exchange is very real.

With regard to bilateral talks with Pakistan, again, the key lies with terrorist groups, because we have taken the stand that we will not talk as long as terrorism continues. Since the recent dramatic changes in Jammu & Kashmir, Imran Khan has in every speech ended up by more or less threatening a nuclear war. We may dismiss this as bluster, but he is the duly-elected prime minister of a country with nuclear bombs, and therefore, we have to take his threats seriously. Earlier reports that Pakistan was developing tactical nuclear weapons which could be used in a ground war are disturbing and add to the possibility of a catastrophic conflict. In the light of these developments, it is for the Government of India to seriously ponder over the situation and see what can be done to defuse the tension.

I am horrified at the casual manner in which some of our politicians, television anchors and “defence experts” dismiss the possibility of a nuclear conflict. Do they have the faintest idea of the sort of havoc that would be caused within the first hour of a nuclear exchange? Millions on both sides would perish immediately and many more would die horrible deaths in the years and decades thereafter. Large parts of the Subcontinent would become unlivable for many decades. Is this the future that we will leave for our grandchildren?

In his last message on the August 15, 1947, which was also his 75th birthday, the great seer Sri Aurobindo wrote about his five dreams for the future. One of these was “a world union forming the outer basis of a fairer, brighter and nobler life for all mankind”. While he held that human unity was an inevitable step of evolution, he also wrote that “a catastrophe may intervene, interrupt or destroy what is being done”. These ominous words have always haunted me. Albert Einstein once said, “The unleashing of the power of the atom bomb has changed everything except our mode of thinking, and thus we head towards unparalleled catastrophes”.

The only way to avoid this is for the Pakistan government or the so-called “deep state” to make absolutely sure that there will not be a major terrorist attack on India from Pakistani soil. This, they should do in their own interest as well as in the interest of India. The trigger for a major conflict lies clearly in Pakistan, and this should be made clear to them through diplomatic channels. Meanwhile, our own hyper-triumphalism should not propel us in a direction that would directly lead to a conflict. One can only hope and pray that better sense will prevail and both India and Pakistan can continue to fight against what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called our common enemies — poverty, malnutrition, unemployment and retarded economic growth.

There are two alternative scenarios for the future of humanity. The European philosopher Arthur Koestler held that our race is programmed for self-destruction because of an engineering defect in the human cortex whereby the feeling and the thinking elements are inadequately integrated. As a result, as Duryodhan says in the Mahabharata, “I know what is right, but I am not attracted to it. I know what is wrong, but I am attracted to it”. As against this, the great evolutionary philosopher Sri Aurobindo holds that we are a race programmed for evolution. Having come up all the way through the mineral, vegetable, aquatic and animal forms, we are now half-way between the animal and the divine, and according to him the evolutionary thrust is bound to continue so that ultimately we move from mind to super-mind and from man to superman. The jury is out on this existential question, but recent events would tend to favour Koestler’s view. To conclude this rather grim article on a lighter note, I will recall a limerick that I heard long ago. It goes as follows: God’s plan made a hopeful beginning, but man spoilt his chances by sinning, We know that the story, will end in God’s glory, but at present the other side’s winning.

Signs that the Antichrist’s Men Will Join Iraq Protesters

Head of the Sadrist Movement Moqtada al-Sadr

Signs that Sadr Supporters Will Join Iraq Protesters

Monday, 21 October, 2019 – 07:30 –

Baghdad – Hamza Mustafa

A tweet by Moqtada al-Sadr was considered as a support to Iraq’s protests and a sign that the Sadrist Movement would take part in anti-government demonstrations, observers said.

In a Tweet posted on his account Sunday, Sadr told demonstrators that they have made the political class live in a state of fear.

Sadr said that the government is unable to achieve reforms.

The political class can’t make any decision without the consent of foreign powers, he said.

He also called on protesters not to stop their peaceful demonstrations.

There are ongoing preparations to resume protests on Friday, one year after the announcement of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s cabinet.

Security expert Fadel Abu Raghif told Asharq Al-Awsat that the results of an investigation into the more than 100 deaths that occurred during demonstrations held in Iraq since Oct. 1, are expected to be released in the coming days.

Top Iraqi Shiite leader Ali al-Sistani had given authorities “two weeks” to release the findings of the probe.

“The government is unable to postpone the release of those findings,” Abu Raghif said, adding that several officers and officials would be held responsible for the deaths of protesters.

Abdul Mahdi announced this month the formation of a high commission of inquiry to fully investigate the incidents that occurred during Iraq’s demonstrations and led to the death of 165 protestors and the injury of thousands, including members of the security forces.

Monday, 21 October, 2019 – 07:00 –

Poverty Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Report: Poverty Rate in Gaza Strip Highest Worldwide

Monday, 21 October, 2019 – 08:00 –

Ramallah – Asharq Al-Awsat

The Ministry of Social Development in the Gaza Strip said in a report that the 2019 poverty rate in the enclave is the highest in the world.

On the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, celebrated on Oct. 17, the Ministry’s undersecretary, Ghazi Hamad, said that poverty and unemployment rates have reached nearly 75 percent in 2019.

He said that the Gaza Strip suffers from a dire economic situation as a result of the aggressive Israeli practices that increased since the Second Intifada, which broke out in 2000, depriving thousands of Palestinians of their jobs, and also due to the Israeli blockade on the territory since 2006, restricting the movement of citizens and goods.

The Ministry report said that 70 percent of the population of the Gaza Strip is food insecure, while 33.8 percent are under the extreme poverty line and 65.6 percent of poor families are refugees.

It said that Gaza possesses the highest poverty indicators in the world, adding that efforts by government, international and local institutions are characterized as relief activities meeting only about 50 percent of the basic needs of poor families.

The Ministry documents revealed there are 46,910 refugee families in the Strip, adding that they were forced out of their houses after 1948.

Until July, the ministry said that 70,645 families had benefited from the national social protection program, representing 20 percent of the Strip’s population, which is under the extreme poverty line.

Hamad said that 37 percent of families that benefit from the program are sustained by women, including 15 percent of those families sustained by widows.

Hamad called for “guaranteeing humanitarian work independence away from political tensions and for improving the living standards of the people of the Gaza Strip by opening the border crossings and allowing citizens and goods to move freely.

He also demanded strengthening coordination between social institutions working in the enclave in order to secure decent living conditions for the poor.