June 2 - In an effort to overcome import restrictions imposed by a blockade on Gaza, a Palestinian man has built a unique construction machine out of scrap metal. Suzannah Butcher reports.
Gaza's Hassan Hasanein is no stranger to a metal workshop. But as a man who hires out construction machinery for a living, he never imagined he'd have to build his own heavy vehicles. A blockade on the Gaza Strip means no construction machinery or parts can be imported. So Hasanein decided to take matters into his own hands and build a machine which digs holes for building foundations. SOUNDBITE: MAN WHO BUILT PILE DRIVER OUT OF SCRAP METAL, HASSAN HASANEIN, SAYING: "I built this machine using scrap metal because the crossings are closed from the Israeli side and the Egyptian side and there is no way for us to import any parts for this machine. So this machine was constructed using old ship and car parts." A self-taught machinist, Hasanein modified his vehicle to more efficiently navigate the narrow alleyways scattered throughout Gaza. His design is fitted with tracks as opposed to wheels, increasing its maneuverability. SOUNDBITE: MAN WHO BUILT PILE DRIVER OUT OF SCRAP METAL, HASSAN HASANEIN, SAYING: "Why should it travel on wheels? I chose for the machine to travel on a metal track and not wheels because machines on wheels cannot enter narrow places. Tracks can turn 90 degrees and the entire machine can rotate 90 degrees, so the techniques that are present in this machine are not found in any other machine in the Gaza Strip." Proudly displaying a sign which says it is a "national product built by an illiterate engineer", the machine is fully licensed and ready to hire.