WAUK Newsletter 29/06/2018

 

1. UPDATE: Emergency Gaza Appeal 2018

In May 2018, protests along Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza, calling for the Right of Return and the lifting of the closure on Gaza, resulted in rapidly increasing numbers of deaths and injuries over a short period. According to the World Health Organisation[1]:

Since the start of the demonstrations until the 11th June 2018, 132 people were killed. The number of people injured amidst ongoing demonstrations stands at 14,601, of these 7,885 people (54%) required hospitalisation:

  • 50% were live ammunition gunshot injuries, (3,900 cases).
  • 1,253 were children (16%), 507 were female (6%) and 7,378 were male (94%).
  • 359 (5%) cases were critical, 3,702 (47%) were moderate, 3,691 (46%) were mild and 133 cases were unspecified.

 Patients were being discharged early to make way for the waves of new casualties arriving in Gaza’s hospitals each day.

 According to Gaza’s Central Drug Store, 253 essential medicines out of the total 815 essential medicines list (i.e. 49%) were at less than one month’s supply (in May 2018).

In addition, 243 essential disposables out of the total 853 essential disposables list (29%) were at less than one month’s supply. Examples of some of the medical disposables needed include: needles, bandages, plasters, syringes, tourniquets, and blood bags.

 Medical staff have also come under fire from Israeli forces as they try to assist casualties. From 30th March to 10th June 2018, 328 health workers and 45 ambulances were affected.[2] Of the health workers affected, 25 suffered injuries from live ammunition (two of the 25 died as a result of their injuries), 18 were hit directly with tear gas canisters and 11 were hit by shrapnel.

 In response, Welfare Association launched an emergency appeal to provide urgently needed medical supplies for hospitals. Welfare Association is currently funding the purchase of over US$300,000 of medical supplies, disposables and equipment to support local hospitals. Items requested as top priority are being delivered quickly to those who need them most.

According to a report by PHRI[3], even before the latest round of violence, the healthcare system in Gaza was already under severe strain. Due to the types of injury and a lack of suitable equipment, a number of gunshot casualties may have to undergo amputation, where in properly equipped medical facilities, limbs might otherwise be saved.  Medical staff have been forced to improvise with thicker threads during operations, in the absence of very fine surgical sewing threads. A lack of disinfectants also forces staff to wash wounds and equipment with saline solution, increasing the risk of infection. There are also shortages of antibiotics and many patients are forced to try to buy their own privately. It is estimated that 45% of medical equipment for emergency and operating rooms is missing.

Please click here to donate to Emergency Medical Supplies for Hospitals in Gaza Appeal.

2.  Emergency Livelihoods Support for Gaza Farmers

Our latest project, restoring the livelihoods of 66 farmers in Gaza, was successfully completed in April. We worked with struggling farmers who owned smaller plots of land in Beit Lahia, Zaytoon, Gaza City, Khan Younis and Juhr Al Deek. Their land and equipment were damaged or destroyed during the Israeli military bombardments over the summer of 2014. The project activities helped the farmers to clear and plough the land, install irrigation networks, and then to plant, grow and harvest their crops.

 Throughout the project farmers were provided with technical advice on crop types to best suit the soil, environmentally friendly methods of pest management, and use of water, to maximise the quality and quantity of the yield. The final yield is expected to deliver over 300 tons of crops including aubergines, potatoes, peppers, courgettes, etc.

Tractor Gaza Farmers cropped.jpg

 Farmers were also assisted in the marketing of the crops as this project was linked to our Ramadan food distribution project. All of the crops were bought and packaged as part of the 5 weeks of fresh food parcels that WA distributed to hundreds of impoverished families throughout Gaza. With their crops sold, all of the farmers will generate an income enabling them to support their families again and also to buy seedlings to replant for the coming season.

 The project rehabilitated 127 dunums of land [1 dunum=1000m sq.] which had suffered extensive damage during the Israeli military bombardments in the summer of 2014. With the restoration of damaged agricultural assets the farmers were able to return their land to productivity. The project also provided 1,100 working days for 59 unemployed labourers.

Planting crops Gaza Farmers resized.jpgThis project has helped to prevent further erosion of livelihoods assets and enabled the targeted farmers to build up their resilience against potential future shocks, and also to increase their food security. These farmers are expected to harvest around 322 tonnes of crops from the rehabilitated lands, including aubergines, potatoes, cucumbers, melons, green peppers, courgettes, tomatoes, parsley, dill, corn, green beans, molokhia, lettuces, cauliflowers, cabbage, okra and radishes. Many of these crops were harvested during Ramadan, when they were bought from the farmers and distributed to at least 1000 of the most vulnerable families in Gaza. This project is sustainably securing livelihoods, as all of the farmers in this project are replanting their lands for the next season; it is also contributing to the food security of local communities.

3.Distribution of fresh food packs to families in Gaza throughout Ramadan

Children collecting food packages cropped.jpg

This project has supported 1000 of the poorest families in four of the most marginalised areas of Gaza, through the provision of urgently needed fresh food items, which poor families would not otherwise have been able to afford to buy. Distribution stations were set up in central locations, far from border areas and to cover as wide a geographical area as possible across Gaza.

The first station was located in Al Zaytoon area to serve East Gaza City (i.e. Zaytoon, Al Tofah, Al Daraj, Shijeeya, and Al Shaaf). The second station was located in the middle of Gaza City, to serve families in the middle and western areas of Gaza (i.e. Al Shatee Refugee Camp, Tal Al Hawa, Al Nasir, Al Shaikh Ridwan, etc.). The third station was located in Zorob Area in Rafah to serve families in the western areas of Rafah (i.e. Tal Al Sultan, Al Shaboora, Yebna, Mosabih, Al Mawasi, etc.) and the fourth station is located in Al Jenena Area in Rafah to serve families in the eastern areas of Rafah (Al Jenena, Kherbit Al Adas, Al Barazeel, Al Salam Neighborhood, Al Nasir, Sofa, Al Shoka, etc.).

Ramadan 2018 shaking hands resized.jpg

Each family received a weekly fresh food parcel for five weeks during Ramadan, including some of the crops produced as part of the Gaza Farmers Livelihoods project. In all, the project purchased fresh fruits and vegetables from 130 local farmers, including the farmers of the Gaza Farmers project. 280 working days were created in the packaging and distribution required for the project. The parcels were distributed to 1000 vulnerable families throughout Gaza and contained: eggs, chicken, meat, fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, onions, aubergines, lettuces, water melons, cucumbers, molokhia, etc.  In the final week, a pack of cookies was included, baked by, and bought from, local women’s co-operatives in Gaza.

These packages allowed families to cook meals with foods they have not been able to afford for a long time; to supplement the poor diet of food insecure households by providing them with fresh nutritious food. This project is also supporting a number of struggling farmers’ livelihoods by purchasing their crops, helping them to generate an income and invest in the replanting of their lands, increasing their future resilience.

Story from the Field: *Mustafa’s Farm

 *Mustafa was unable to cultivate his two dunums (2,000 square meters) of land in Johr Al Deek, east of Gaza City, since the end of the assault on Gaza in 2014. The level of destruction and his difficult financial situation rendered him unable to replant his land or pay his debts, (which he had planned to pay once he harvested his crops). He moved to find labouring work on the land of other farmers, to support his family of seven.

“I have been a farmer for more than 20 years, and I planted this land with my father, he left it to me when he passed away, I did not imagine that I would lose my entire livelihood. Everything was destroyed in 2014 and I could not replant it again. I have been working for other farmers and receiving some financial support from a humanitarian organisation. These last few years were miserable for me.”- Mustafa said.

Mustafa planting crops resized.jpgHe added, “I lived the worst years of my life. I was dependant on others. This opportunity to rehabilitate and replant my land was a dream”.

The Emergency Livelihoods Support for Gaza Farmers’ project helped Mustafa return to work his land. The land was cleared, ploughed, new irrigation networks were installed and it was re-planted.

Mustafa added “I’m back on my land now. The land has been revived, it is as beautiful as it was before, and I got my life back. Once the crops are harvested I can cover my debts and support my family and I expect to have some savings as this season has been good. I will use these to replant the land in the next season. Thank you Welfare Association for your support”. 

*Names of beneficiaries have been changed.  

 


[2] These numbers include additional data provided for the Palestinian Civil Defence medical teams and Palestinian medical services