Caritas is concerned that people in Gaza cannot meet their basic needs following the November conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The Caritas confederation is launching a €1.6 million (US$2.1 million) appeal to help vulnerable families who lack access to healthcare, are financially insecure and are unprepared for winter.
“After so many years of suffering, Gazans need the chance of a new beginning in which an era of peace reigns. As Christmas approaches, we mustn’t forget that Gaza lies not far from Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Lord. Let this fact inspire us to accompany Gazans in our thoughts, deeds and prayers, wherever we may be,” says Michel Roy, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis.
Efforts to help those in difficulty will be focused on areas including health, hygiene, counselling and providing cash assistance to people who have economic problems.
Four hospitals will receive medical supplies to boost their ability to treat those injured in the war. Families will receive first aid kits and tips in basic first aid. Caritas will continue to also give help through its medical centre and mobile clinics.
Counselling is a big part of Caritas Jerusalem’s work in Gaza. Many people are still bearing the trauma of the war and need help in overcoming it. Caritas will provide counselling for over 2000 people and psycho-social activities to improve the well-being of 1000 women and children.
Other initiatives will include providing people with basic household assistance, hygiene items and artificial limbs for those whose bodies have been irreparably damaged by the war.
Over 114,000 Gazans will benefit from Caritas’ help over the course of 7 months.
Gazans were already suffering a grave humanitarian crisis before the war began. Over 1.5 million people live in the most densely-populated area on earth and due to frequent goods blockades, the supply of food, water and many essentials is erratic.
The November war destroyed or damaged many buildings, including schools and hospitals, and led to severe shortages of drugs and essential medical supplies. The power supply is also unstable.
On a recent trip by Caritas Jerusalem staff to Gaza, secretary general, Claudette Habesch, highlighted the need for increased developmental projects in the Strip, especially regarding water and agriculture.