Vulnerable families in Gaza are in urgent need of support in the aftermath of the recent bombing.
The latest escalation of violence has killed 253 Palestinians. Among the dead are 66 children, 39 women, and 17 older people. Almost 2,000 more have been injured and others are missing. To make matters worse, 28 health care facilities were damaged in the conflict, and many are unable to seek the medical aid they desperately need. Damaged infrastructure caused by the bombing has also seen thousands of homes destroyed and has left many families homeless.
A dedicated team of around 60 Islamic Relief staff in Gaza have been working tirelessly to help vulnerable people. Our focus is on providing displaced families with desperately needed items like bedding, hygiene products and vouchers to buy urgently needed supplies.
So far we have distributed 1,200 food vouchers which cover the cost of food for 1 month and offer families more choice and flexibility than simply giving them food parcels. We have also distributed 110 bedding sets to vulnerable families.
We are now also working on the process to help Palestinian families get back on their feet in the aftermath of the devastation. This support includes repairing damaged homes, as well as fixing healthcare facilities and schools, and providing them with the equipment they need to run smoothly.
We will also be supporting special education centres and providing psychosocial support to affected families. Our plans also include supporting the repair of water systems so that homes have easy access to water. Our plans also include upscaling our many existing projects in Gaza which are a lifeline for many people.
“Just imagine, sleeping on the muddy ground”
Sadly, conditions in Gaza were dire even before this latest escalation in conflict. The occupation, blockade and recurring conflict have caused deep poverty and suffering, and everyday life is a struggle for many families. One of the most prevalent issues is that many are unable to afford decent, safe housing, and are living in overcrowded, squalid conditions.
Poor housing conditions increase the likelihood of contracting harmful infections and developing respiratory problems. Inadequate shelter is impacting the mental health and wellbeing of families and disrupting children’s education.
In winter, temperatures plummet, and inadequate housing – combined with a lack of food, clothing and access to medical care – creates major challenges for thousands of families in Gaza. The situation is particularly difficult for orphan families, who have little or no source of income.
Islamic Relief is helping vulnerable families through a project to help rebuild good-quality houses.
During 2020, we repaired and improved the homes of 79 vulnerable orphan families, helping to create happy, healthy and dignified living conditions.
36-year-old Heba greets everyone with a smile, and especially her 6 children, who she is raising alone. 5 years ago, her husband passed away, leaving her with the sole responsibility of providing for their children.
Heba’s family gave her a small area of land upon which she has built a room, where she lives with her children. There is no kitchen or bathroom, and the roof is severely damaged. In winter, they face huge problems with damp, with rainwater getting in and with the lack of protection from the cold.
“Just imagine, sleeping on the muddy ground in a devastating place. No mattress or pillows, no heating, no monthly income and no food.
“No one can know what poor people are facing unless you experience their situation,” says Heba.
Islamic Relief helped to expand and repair Heba’s home, and they are now living in a comfortable and spacious environment. We also provided the family with essential items such as warm clothes, to help them through the winter months.
“There was nothing to keep us safe or warm, but after your kind service, and after your generosity, everything has changed for the better. There really are no words which can describe our happiness, and our thankfulness at the great impact of Islamic Relief’s support,” says Heba.
Sadly, the recent escalation in conflict which has destroyed thousands of homes will now worsen an already dire housing crisis.
Islamic Relief has been by the side of vulnerable Palestinians since 1997, delivering vital humanitarian and development assistance. And we will remain by their sides during this latest crisis. Donate to our Palestine Appeal today to help us continue supporting those in need in Gaza.