An emergency shelter made of simple cloth sheets: prevailing reality for many families in Gaza. Photo: humedica/João Santos
Between debris and fear
Impressions from a war
The Portuguese Joao Santos is a staff member of humedica-Israel and has conducted help projects in the Palestinian territories for years. He knows the people and their difficult living circumstances and he knows, where help is necessary. During the last month, he succeeded in getting to Gaza three times between the continuing hostilities and to get an overview of the whole situation. Today, we want to report you his impressions:
“The already serious initial situation has worsened severely and is getting worse every day. As far as the eye can see there are broken and collapsed buildings, in many of them there are small tents to signal that a beloved person has been lost here and which have been set up as a sign of respect for this person. In the areas which have been hardest hit, an intense smell of decay is coming out of the soil and the debris.
The degree of destruction by bombings is enormous and subjectively even higher than during the last conflicts in Gaza in the years 2008 and 2012. Many people who have lived their whole life long in the concerned areas cannot recognize their own streets.
Meanwhile, nearly half a million people have become homeless. This equates nearly one third of the whole population in Gaza. On paying a little rent, some of them have found shelter with friends or relatives. Those who are not so lucky to find shelter at other people’s houses, have evacuated their families into public buildings, like for example UNRWA schools, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
However, there isn’t much space left there. About 40 persons must share one classroom. Already 300,000 people have found shelter here, amongst them 75,000 children between six and fourteen years of age. For the time coming, there is no thinking of offering school lessons to them.
Those who haven’t found a place, are building emergency shelters made of tarpaulin, next to the schools or hospitals. Outside of the El Shira Clinic, the central hospital in Gaza City, a small town of tents has developed.
The lack of hygiene is another potential danger. The outbreak of diseases like diphtheria and different skin diseases are probably only a matter of time.
And another alarming problem is threatening the people: the approaching winter. A majority of the Palestinians live in badly insulated accommodations. They have only limited access to food or running water, not to mention electricity or fuel for the heating.”
The impressions of humedica staff member Joao Santos have confirmed our apprehensions and urge for action. In order to support the population and especially the children in coping with their tragic experiences, humedica is currently planning measures for coping with traumata, as well as the shipping of a container full of urgently needed aid supplies.
A project which we need your help for, dear friends and sponsors. Please support the people in Gaza with a directed donation and contribute to the recovery of the concerned people. Thank you very much!
account nb. 47 47
bank code 734 500 00
bank Sparkasse Kaufbeuren