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There are an estimated 10,000 Palestinians buried under the rubble of buildings flattened by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Civil Defense agency has said, Middle East Eye reported on April 30. It would take two to three years to recover all the bodies unless digging equipment, which has been destroyed by Israel, is urgently replaced and allowed into the war-ravaged strip, it added.

“The General Directorate of Civil Defense renews its appeal to all relevant parties, led by the United Nations and the World Health Organization … to urgently intervene,” the statement read. It added that pressure was needed to “allow the entry of heavy equipment necessary to enable our crews to save the lives of those wounded by the ongoing Israeli bombing, as well as to extract the bodies of the martyrs that are decomposing under the rubble, and are causing a health disaster for the population.”

The UN estimates there are 37 million tons of debris in Gaza left by the intense Israeli bombardment of residential buildings for seven months. It could take 14 years to safely clear the debris, according to Pehr Lodhammar, a senior officer from the United Nations Mine Action Service. “All I can say is that at least 10% of the ammunition that is being fired potentially fails to function…. With 100 trucks we’re talking about 14 years of work with 100 trucks, so that’s 14 years with about 750,000 workdays—person workdays—to remove the debris,” Lodhammar said earlier this week.