After 11 bloody days of bombardment, the people in Gaza are still in shock and traumatized not knowing if, or when, the bombs will rain down again. With drones flying overhead, the blockade of land, air, and sea, a ‘ceasefire’ does not translate security and stability for Gazans.
The most recent human toll in Gaza estimates 253 Palestinians dead. Approximately 66 of the deceased include children. After the rubble is cleared and critical cases have been treated, the number will surely increase. Sadly, physical, emotional, and psychological trauma is the norm in Gaza for people of all ages.
A recent assessment of the damage done revealed that no corner or civilian was left unharmed. In the health sector, which was already on the brink of collapse, the outcome was devastating. Six hospitals and eleven clinics were damaged including the only COVID-19 laboratory in all of Gaza. Unfortunately, the physician of that clinic has been hospitalized amid the ongoing global pandemic.
According to UNICEF, a total of 57 education facilities in the Gaza Strip suffered damage and schools remain closed, affecting some 600,000 children. KinderUSA has just finished a water rehabilitation project in 60 schools, refurbishing their lavatories and providing water tanks for clean drinking water. We are still awaiting a report of the extent of the damages if any.
Clean drinking water in Gaza is elusive with over 800,000 lacking regular access to tap water. The electricity in Gaza is dependent upon fuel which is in severe supply shortages. The rippling effect impacts the water supply as electricity, which is only available 3-4 hours a day, is needed to pump clean water. The risk of spreading COVID-19 due to poor hygiene and sanitation, coupled with families having to rush to alternative housing in UNRWA schools to avoid the bombardment, is of critical concern.
KinderUSA is working with our partners on the ground to provide immediate food essentials to the most marginalized in the north of Gaza. We have identified 900 families who will receive fresh food from locally sourced farmers and a store voucher to shop at the local market to buy household items. This effort helps boost the local economy while ensuring children receive proper nutrition. We must reiterate what Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said:
“If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza today.”
This inhumane occupation and denial of human rights for the Palestinian people must end.