Dust to Dust Gaza has been under Israeli blockade since Hamas took control in June 2007. During this time, much needed construction materials have been prevented from entering the strip, leading to the closure of all of Gaza's concrete and block factories. In 2009, Israel's 'Operation Cast Lead' destroyed thousands of homes and much of Gaza's infrastructure, leaving the economy in ruins. Many businesses have gone under and the unemployment rate is one of the highest in the world. Gaza also has one of the fastest growing populations in the world but now faces a housing shortage of some 120 000 units. Even the United Nations, for whom construction materials are allowed in, receives only a meager supply and has been unable to rebuild its schools. Up to 40,000 pupils are unable to attend school due to the lack of facilities.To alleviate the shortages, increasing amounts of cement and steel are now entering Gaza through the underground tunnels from Egypt and prices are almost at pre-2007 levels. Since cement is once again available, rubble and gravel have become much sought after and highly valuable commodities. For the hordes of unemployed young men in Gaza, this new demand has opened up a lucrative, if highly dangerous, line of work in the border areas. Aggregates are needed in large quantities for the production of concrete and most are found close to the Israeli border, at former settlements that have been demolished and at the former Yasser Arafat International Airport that was destroyed by an Israeli air raid in 2002. The large swathes of desolate border areas which are watched over by the Israeli Army from the other side of the frontier are a highly dangerous place to work and dozens of rubble collectors have been maimed and killed by snipers after venturing too close to the border. Yet they return, day after day, to fill their carts and drive their donkeys to the construction factories that are once again starting to function.