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The Middle East
Home Overseas Projects The Middle East Projects

Occupied Palestinian Territories: Gaza Humanitarian Appeal

DONATE NOW to support emergency relief to Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip affected by the Israeli military attacks in July 2014.

The remnants of a Gaza house destroyed by an airstrike on 13 July 2014. Credit: AP
The remnants of a Gaza house destroyed by an airstrike on 13 July 2014. Credit: AP

HOW TO MAKE YOUR DONATION

You can donate to our Gaza Appeal via our secure online donation form, go to Section C One-off Donations & Appeals, and select GAZA from the drop-down list.
OR you can print a donation form here to fax/post to us.
OR you can phone our Sydney office on 1800 888 674 to make your donation.
Our mailing address & fax: Level 3, 377 Sussex St, Sydney NSW 2000;
Fax. (02) 9261 1118.

CURRENT NEEDS

The Gaza Strip has been subjected to daily airstrikes and naval bombings from the Israeli military, leaving over 1,373 people dead and thousands injured. The UN estimates that 75% of the Palestinians killed are civilians, of whom 25% are children. (Source: http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_sitrep_01_08_2014.pdf)

Nearly 300,000 people have been displaced due to the destruction of their homes and violence, the majority of whom are sheltering in UNRWA schools and other facilities. 44% of the Gaza Strip has been declared a no-go zone, forcing people to leave their houses and belongings and seek shelter elsewhere.

The El-Wafa hospital, which is supported by Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA had to evacuate all patients and cease patient care due to Israeli shelling on 18 July that left critical damage to the rehabilitation hospital, El Wafa is the only rehabilitation hospital of its kind in the whole Gaza Strip, it treats long-term injuries and physical disabilities. All of the patients have some degree of paralysis, require around the clock care and many are on oxygen support and feeding tubes. Thankfully all patients were able to be evacuated without casualties, however they have been transferred to an over-crowded and under-resourced medical clinic.

Long-term partner organisation, MA'AN Development Centre have reported that their office has been damaged by airstrikes, shattering windows and destroying the front gate. Thankfully MA'AN staff have not been injured or killed in these strikes. Food security and water projects in partnership with MA'AN have been affected, with damage to greenhouses and animal units being reported. The full extent of the damage is still unknown due to the ongoing military activity in the area.

Hospitals in the strip are working overtime to treat injured Palestinians; however the Gaza Red Crescent Society has reported that medicines are running out in their medical facilities.

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA's Gaza Appeal

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA works with the MA'AN Development Centre, the Gaza Red Crescent Society and the Middle East Children's Alliance to support Palestinians living in the Gaza strip and we are raising money to:
  • Provide medical supplies for patients at the Red Crescent Society and hospitals
  • Distribute emergency food vouchers and items, such as milk and staples, to families who have been displaced by the bombings.
Donations will be directed to the areas of greatest need in the current emergency.

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA urges monetary donations to this appeal so that funds may be distributed to our partners to implement their work. Unfortunately, Union Aid Abroad cannot accept donations of in-kind materials to this appeal because guaranteeing safe transport of goods to recipients is impossible at this time. Consequently, the most efficient means of Australian assistance is raising funds to be forwarded so that goods and materials may be purchased locally.

Daily United Nations situation reports

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA launched its Gaza Appeal in 2006, in response to a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and urgent requests for assistance from our local partners. In 2014, the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate as the Israeli economic blockade moves into its eighth year.

The Gaza Appeal is disbursed to our Palestinian partners to provide emergency food parcels and medical relief, as well as to strengthen the food security options for Palestinian families throughout the Gaza Strip.

Thank you to the Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA donors who have generously supported this appeal.

The blockade of Gaza - background

The Gaza blockade has continued for eight long years. The blockade by Israel is total - land, sea, air - and is regularly noted by the United Nations as a form of collective punishment on the Palestinian civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow has called for an end to collective punishment and violent reprisals that push the prospects of a peaceful and just resolution even further from reach. "The occupation of Palestinian land must end, and the conditions must be created for Palestine and Israel to co-exist in peace and security in accordance with the legitimacy of international law."

In international law, collective punishment is prohibited under the Hague Convention 1907 (Article 50), the Third Geneva Convention 1949 (Article 87) and the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949 (Article 33), and thus amounts to a war crime.

The blockade was imposed by Israel after the Palestinian Hamas organisation took control over the security apparatus in the Gaza Strip in June 2007. The results of the sustained blockade are devastating. Eighty percent of families living in Gaza rely on humanitarian aid, 95% of the water is unfit for human consumption and electricity is rationed to only 6 hours a day. Medical facilities are under-resourced and over-crowded and Palestinians with serious medical issues are rarely given permission to be treated at modern hospitals in the West Bank or Jerusalem.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, James Rawley released a statement in the wake of the violence calling on both sides to consider the humanitarian toll the violence is having on the current and subsequent generations of Gazans. "My thoughts are particularly with Gaza's children, not only those who are already casualties of this latest conflict, but all of Gaza's children for whom fear and insecurity are not only a reality today but a scar that will ensure for a lifetime". (Source: James W. Rawley, Gaza Emergency 2014 Press Conference, Gaza City, July 14 2014)

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA works in the Gaza strip to provide food security and water projects, psycho-social recovery for children affected by trauma, and support to local medical facilities and schools.

Fast facts about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip:

  • Gaza is one of the most densely populated regions in the world with over 4,500 people per sq. km. Gaza has a total population of 1.6 million in an area approximately 365 sq. km - roughly one-sixth the size of the Australian Capital Territory.
  • 34% of Gaza's workforce, including over half its youth, is unemployed.
  • 44% of Gazans are food insecure and about 80% are aid recipients.
  • In 2011, less than one truckload of goods per day exited Gaza, less than 3% the average amount of exports during the first half of 2007.
  • 35% of Gaza's farmland and 85% of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible due to Israeli-imposed restrictions.
  • A severe fuel and electricity shortage results in outages of up to 12 hours a day.
  • Some 90 million litres of untreated and partially treated sewage are dumped in the sea each day.
  • Over 90% of the water from the Gaza aquifer is unsafe for human consumption without treatment.
  • 85% of schools in Gaza run on double shifts.
  • Some 71,000 new housing units are required to cover current housing needs.

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Fact Sheets
Click here to access UNOCHA's interactive information resource on the Gaza Strip blockade.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR DONATION

You can donate to our Gaza Appeal via our secure online donation form, go to Section C One-off Donations & Appeals, and select GAZA from the drop-down list.
OR you can print a donation form here to fax/post to us.
OR you can phone our Sydney office on 1800 888 674 to make your donation.
Our mailing address & fax: Level 3, 377 Sussex St, Sydney NSW 2000;
Fax. (02) 9261 1118.








PAST SUPPORT

APRIL 2011: Australian physiotherapist volunteer visits El Wafa Hospital - click here to read Katrina Byrne's blogpost reflecting on her placement working with our partner in Gaza.

MEDICAL REHABILITATION SERVICES & OUT-CLINICS, and EMERGENCY AID PACKAGES, April-Sept. 2009, Oct.-Dec. 2009, July-Aug. 2010
Partner agency: El Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital

The 22-day Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip launched on 27 December 2008 resulted in over 1400 Palestinian deaths and over 5000 Palestinians injured. Many of those have suffered permanent disability from their injuries. The El Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital in Gaza City is the only hospital service in the Gaza Strip which offers medical services and support for disabled Palestinians.

Following the enormous fundraising efforts of the Muslim communities in Sydney in January 2009, A$570,600 was provided to our partner, the El Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital, in April 2009 to support their work assisting Palestinians with disabilities, particularly poor families who could not otherwise afford medical care. More recently, A$74,605 in funding was forwarded to the El Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital in June 2010 to continue this work.

This project assisted the El Wafa Hospital's work to provide rehabilitation services, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, cognitive therapy, speech therapy and out-clinics, for disabled Palestinians and their families. Part of the funding was also used to purchase medical equipment for the hospital, as well as to provide emergency aid packages - food aid and school kits - to Palestinian families in respect of the holy month of Ramadan.

The El Wafa Hospital recently produced a 10-minute video documenting their work in Gaza. You can view the video on the APHEDA YouTube site.


HEN DISTRIBUTION PROJECT, July 2008
Partner agency: MA'AN Development Centre

In further efforts to bolster the food security of Gaza families, funds raised in Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA's ongoing appeal for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has provided A$35,040 to a project distributing hens to approximately 163 Palestinian women and their families in Wadi al-Salqa and Almhata villages in the central area of the Gaza Strip. The project provides hens and roosts, as well as small opportunities for labour employment. The villages are located in Deir Al-Balah governorate in central Gaza strip, an agricultural area of approximately 28 square kilometres with a population of more than 60,000.


HEN DISTRIBUTION PROJECT, August 2007
Partner agency: MA'AN Development Centre

Funds raised in Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA's ongoing appeal for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has provided A$17,730 to a project distributing hens to approximately 54 Palestinian women and their families in Jout al-Lout village outside Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Poverty and conflict quickly exhaust family coping mechanisms, leaving a family increasingly vulnerable to deteriorating health and living conditions. Securing a family's food production resources is a major way to meet a family's health and nutrition needs, as well as providing the possibility of increasing and sustaining a source of income for the family. MA'AN Development Centre has extensive experience with food security programs throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


REPORT ON MEDICAL REHABILITATION PROGRAM, January-March 2007
Partner agency: El Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital

El Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital is the only facility which provides medical support and services for severely disabled Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. With 2.3 percent of the Gazan population of 1.4 million suffering some form of physical disability, the El Wafa Hospital is the only place where patients - and their families - can access not only the technical aids needed to live with their disability, such as wheelchairs or crutches, but also the psychosocial support and community reintegration programs required to help them to live independently back in their communities.

With thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Palestine Relief Fund, a local Australian community organisation, and the generous support of the many donors to our recent appeals for Gaza, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA forwarded A$15,000 to the El Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital in Gaza City.

Below are excerpts from El Wafa Hospital's report on the project activities
These funds have helped to purchase technical aids for the disabled patients of the Hospital - wheelchairs, air mattresses, pronial braces, cane rubbers, arm slings, knee braces, medical mats. The project directly assisted 125 patients (72 male, 53 female), and indirectly assisted 250 caregivers and family members of physically challenged people.

The Occupational Therapy department and Physical Therapy department utilised these aids during daily training with patients admitted to the inpatient department and clients of the outpatient department. The outpatient department treats approximately 70 cases per day while the inpatient department treats all cases admitted to El-Wafa medical rehabilitation hospital, with a current capacity of 52 beds. There is a 90 to 100% occupancy rate.

Technical aids were very helpful in assisting physically challenged people and newly injured persons achieve a considerable amount of self reliance and independence. They used these technical aids to transfer from bed, move about in their neighbourhoods, visit places where they used to go, and carry out their very basic needs.

Case report - Rafat Abu Sitta is a 35 year old male from Khan Younis city, married with 5 children. Rafat became disabled as a result of cancer. Consequently he lost his job and was the sole breadwinner for his family. During a field visit to Rafat's rented home in Khan Younis, he started telling his story and how he ended up bedridden. Rafat's children are all too young to help him transfer from the bed to the floor or vice versa, and his wife was the only caregiver to look after her husband and children, as well as do all the housework, cooking, shopping etc. Rafat's dream was to be able to leave his room to see the street again and be able to talk to people once again. Thanks to this project, Rafat was provided with a wheelchair, which made it possible for him for the first time in five years go downtown with his children and buy them some school supplies.


REPORT ON FOOD SECURITY PROGRAM IN QARARA VILLAGE, January-March 2007
Partner agency: MA'AN Development Centre

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA's appeal provided A$14,844 in funding to a program to enhance the food security of poor Palestinian families in Qarara village in the southern Gaza Strip. In an effort to provide an effective food security option for Palestinian families, MA'AN Development Centre provided each family with rabbits, cages and short training courses in animal husbandry. A small project such as this can help to diversify and improve a family's nutrition sources, while also providing an outlet for the family to earn an income from the sale of their rabbits' offspring.

Below are excerpts from MA'AN's report on the project activities
The project coordinators visited Qarara Village and met with the local committees representing the area community. With members of the community associations, they visited various parts of the area to gain a better sense of the size of the area. The social workers also visited many homes to witness on a case by case basis what was occurring at the home level to gain a better sense of which areas could spatially support the project. Further, they worked to ensure that the selected families had enough space to provide ample area for the planned rabbits cages and rabbits.

This project directly benefited forty families through access to meat produced through the rabbits' multiplication phenomena and utilization of training on animal husbandry. Socially, women will also enjoy increased confidence to participate in the work sector. The larger community will enjoy greater food security from access to rabbit's meat and increased income. The surrounding environment will improve due to the use of animal manure in gardens, replacing chemical inputs in agriculture.


REPORT ON EMERGENCY FOOD PARCELS, October 2006
Partner agency: MA'AN Development Centre

In July 2006, A$11,500 was forwarded to our local partner, MA'AN Development Centre, and used to provide 175 poor families - approximately 1280 people - with a month's supply of basic food necessities. Poor local farmers also benefited as their vegetables and fruit, which cannot be exported due to the Israeli closures and incursions, were purchased by MA'AN for this emergency program. Food assistance parcels were distributed over four regions:

  • Al-Zarqa (North Gaza): 40 Parcels
  • Beit Lahia: 50 Parcels
  • Al-Zayoun District: 50 Parcels
  • Gaza City (different areas): 35 Parcels

Each parcel contained 14 basic food items, such as flour, rice, sugar, vegetable oil, salt, beans, chickpeas etc. The following criteria were used to identify beneficiaries: family income, family size, female-headed households, families directly affected by the occupation, families who have not previously received other aid from other organisations.


Download full report:
Download & print GAZA APPEAL donation form [ pdf ]

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