Emergency Aid for Families in Gaza

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Supporting some of the worst affected families following the 50-day attack on Gaza in July 2014

The Israeli military assault on Gaza, which began 7 July 2014 and lasted seven weeks, was one of the worst attacks on Gaza in recent years and has taken the lives of over 2,200 Palestinians, of whom one quarter were children.

Gaza Destruction cropped.pngSevere destruction to several homes and key buildings in Gaza
More than 11,000 Palestinians, were badly injured with the possibility of permanent disability and there is widespread destruction and devastating damage to key infrastructure and buildings, including the main power plant, water and sanitation systems and over 20,000 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless. Prior to the conflict, 80% of Gazans were already aid dependent and the population was already suffering from high unemployment rates of 34%, lack of access to adequate water and sanitation facilities and chronic medical and fuel shortages in hospitals as a result of  the ongoing blockade imposed by Israel. With the level of destruction that has occurred following these assaults and restrictions limiting the entry of construction materials into Gaza, there are estimates it could take up to 50 years to rebuild and restore Gaza. Throughout this humanitarian crisis and since the ceasefire Welfare Association has been providing urgent support to emergency services and to some of the worst affected families in Gaza.

Summary of WA response to Gaza Conflict

Surgeons at Makassed Hospital.pngSurgeons at Makassed Hospital
When clashes first broke out in East Jerusalem on 4 & 5 July we maintained direct contact with the CEO of Makassed Hospital, Dr. Rafiq Husseini. As the clashes spread to other areas of the West Bank and to the north of Israel, Israel began a major military assault on Gaza. On 8 July air strikes on Gaza intensified and on 9 July we broadened our appeal to a Palestine Emergency Appeal, focusing on medical supplies for hospitals (such as Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem and Hospitals in Gaza). We were able to quickly raise funds to support surgeries at the Makassed hospital for patients referred from Gaza for surgeries which could not be completed in Gaza and prioritising children and youths badly injured. More than 70 badly injured children were supported with this grant. No admin fees were charged on this project – all funds went directly to Makassed Hospital patient care.

ZAKAT_2014_IDRF (13).JPGEmergency food packs distributed to poor families in Gaza during Ramadan
At the same time, we were in the middle of a major Ramadan emergency food pack distribution to some of the poorest families in Gaza. Given the emergency and the need to include food packs for additional families now made homeless as the military strikes destroyed their homes, we were able to increase this work and by 16 July our WA Gaza teams had already provided more than 3000 food packs due to savings made. Our teams worked in very difficult conditions and throughout the continuing bombardment of Gaza. In total 4,535 parcels were distributed to 3,512 families in need.

Several new emergency response projects then began in succession including providing support to key health services (in form of medical supplies and disposables) as well as supporting fishermen’s families with emergency food packs.

Post surgery care at PAS Hospital.pngPost-surgery care for young patient at PAS Hospital
The Public Aid Society (PAS) Hospital, located in Gaza city, serving communities in Al Zaytoun, Al Shujaiya, and Sabra along with Gaza City - areas that were heavily bombarded - was kept open throughout the military strikes thanks to the provision of medications and medical disposables through this project. This included 49 urgently needed medicines, and 112 urgently needed medical disposables and supplies. A total of 4,966 patients received support: 4,300 cases were admitted to the Emergency Department and received treatment, 410 cases underwent surgeries in the Operations Surgical Department, and 256 women delivered their babies.

We also  provided urgent support to 1,382 families of fishermen located in Gaza city, north Gaza, middle areas of Gaza and Khan Younis and Rafah in south Gaza who were already living in very poor conditions prior to the conflict due to the fishing zone restrictions imposed by Israel. These limit the areas the fishermen can fish in and so reduce their catch and the cash they make from it. These fishermen are amongst those hardest hit by the prolonged siege on Gaza. During the assault, they were unable to sail or fish for more than 50 days and the military strikes also damaged and destroyed their boats, fishing nets and equipment, losing their sole means of income. To support them, we provided emergency family food parcels containing essential items such as rice, canned minced meat, pasta, sugar and olive oil. This was the first aid they had ever received and they were both relieved and overwhelmed.

Through the Palestine Emergency Appeal we launched and additional grants received we were able to provide emergency support to a further 3095 badly affected families who were either displaced or their homes and belongings badly damaged. The families received rechargeable light sets, winter clothes for children and blankets; especially important now as winter begins and temperatures drop.

There are still many vulnerable families in Gaza who have lost their homes, have been injured, lost family members and are struggling to secure their basic food needs and necessary health services. If you would like to help support these families please click here