Dear Supporter,
Welcome to our May 2020 Newsletter, keeping you updated on our vital work.

We hope you are successfully navigating all the challenges of the Covid-19 lockdown and staying safe. Thank you for your generous support of our emergency appeals during this time.

At the end of February 2020 WA put plans in motion in Palestine and Lebanon to increase local community preparedness, contain the spread of the virus, and support the most vulnerable families.
WA Covid-19 Emergency Activities in Palestine and Lebanon include the following:

Increasing preparedness:

  • Distribution of deep cleaning materials and hand gels to hospitals in Gaza at the beginning of March
  • A new project to increase the ICU facilities at Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem, now underway and one specialised ventilator installed and a second ventilator ordered
  • Containment:
  • Distributing PPE to hospitals in Gaza
  • Distributing hygiene kits to hundreds of vulnerable families in Gaza
  • Support for quarantine centres in Gaza.

Support for vulnerable families in lockdown

Supporting already vulnerable families, now made even more vulnerable in lockdown. 

In Gaza:

  • With the distribution of fresh food packages
  • Buying the newly harvested crops of struggling farmers, to go into the fresh food packages, to generate an income for farmers
  • Supporting unemployed labourers to package and distribute the produce (taking all precautions necessary, i.e. wearing masks and gloves, social distancing, handwashing).

In Lebanon:

  • In the refugee camps in Lebanon through the distribution of vouchers that can be redeemed in pre-qualified shops for key food and hygiene items (taking all precautionary measures, i.e. wearing masks and gloves, social distancing, handwashing). 

WA is providing weekly updates on the Covid-19 stats in Palestine at the start of every week on our WA social media accounts: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Latest stats posted:

18 May 2020:

  • 560 cases: 381 in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) and Gaza; with two deaths
  • 179 cases and two deaths reported in East Jerusalem

Covid-19 Palestine Emergency Appeal

  1. Emergency ICU Project at Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem

Al Makassed Islamic Charitable Hospital Society is the largest Arab hospital in East Jerusalem, with 250 beds, and 80 ICU beds including 16 paediatric beds.

It is considered the primary referral hospital for the Palestinian Ministry of Health for tertiary care services, including paediatric critical and surgical care. It is also now a referral centre for Covid-19 patients in Palestine.

Welfare Association has regularly supported Makassed hospital throughout the last two decades. This latest project will increase the ICU capacity of Makassed Hospital through the provision of several new ventilators, patient beds, and other technical equipment.

The first of the ventilators arrived at the hospital earlier this week

2. Emergency Food Distributions In Gaza

During the five weeks of Ramadan more than 1100 of the most impoverished families in Gaza have received a fresh food package each week for five weeks. Packs contain a variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs, together with chicken or eggs each week. 

 In the final week they include a pack of Eid cookies, freshly baked by a number of local womens co-operatives. This project is buying the crops from more than 150 farmers who have recently rehabilitated their land in our emergency projects bringing the land back to productivity and restoring farmers livelihoods.

These farmers are all able to farm their land again and generate a regular income for their families. This project is also supporting unemployed workers who are packaging the crops, and local women who are baking the cookies. 

Covid-19 Lebanon Emergency Appeal

3. Supporting Families in Rashidieh Camp, south Lebanon

In Lebanon, the first case of COVID-19 was recorded on 21st February 2020. By 4th May 2020 the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 rose to 737, with 25 deaths. On 16th March 2020 the Government of Lebanon announced a state of emergency and called on everyone to stay home, with the closure of public spaces, restaurants and shops. The 18th March, saw the closure of the airport for all commercial flights, the port, as well as closure of the border with Syria.
Since October 2019, the country has been in turmoil, politically and financially and further contraction in the economy is foreseen. Inflation rates have spiked, the Lebanese Pound lost 30-50% of its value pre Covid-19, resulting in a reduction in purchasing power.  Unemployment rates are rising with estimates that more than 200,000 have lost their jobs, while many more are paid half-salaries or less.

The Palestinian refugees in Lebanon (PRL) and Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS) were already among the most vulnerable groups even before the onset of the economic crisis. Two thirds of the Palestinians in Lebanon live in poverty and the jobs of one in three employed Palestinian refugees is insecure, working as daily, weekly or temporary labourers.

During Covid-19 WA has been working to provide hundreds of families living in deep poverty with vouchers to exchange in prequalified shops for key food and hygiene items. The aim is to help these families survive the “lockdown” period and the risks imposed by COVID-19, as well as the interruption of work and loss of income. The vouchers, will cover the key needs of each family for a period of 8 weeks. Vouchers are being provided to more than 700 of the most vulnerable families in Rashidieh Refugee Camp in South Lebanon.

Thank you for your generous support!

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