Yesterday I was in Gaza with ActionAid’s staff and volunteers on the ground who were giving out vouchers to help families whose homes have been either totally or partially destroyed in the conflict.
The streets were jammed full of people rushing to stock up on essential items before the temporary ceasefire deadline, which was set to expire at midnight (a new temporary ceasefire was announced today) and our team was working frantically to ensure that people could get the supplies they so desperately need such as food, blankets and kitchen equipment.
Driving into Gaza City, I saw houses destroyed and people living in makeshift tents next to a pile of rubble they used to call home. Others are taking refuge in schools, mosques and tents - but as mother of twelve Yussra Dawood said to me: “There is nowhere in Gaza to take shelter. Nowhere in Gaza is safe.”
No running water
Yussra is from the Zaitoon area of Gaza which was badly hit during the first days of the conflict. She and her family went to live in a UN school when their house was damaged by a bomb, but after a few days they decided to return to their damaged home, even though there is no running water there. “If I am going to die, I want to die at home with my family” she told me.
ActionAid gave Yussra and her family a voucher to the value of $300 (£180) to spend at a local supermarket. “Without this voucher, we would not have the money to buy anything,” she said.
All the families I spoke to welcomed the support from ActionAid and were pleased that the vouchers enabled them to make their own decision on what they need the most – whether that was food, cooking pots, water, clothing, towels or even a toy for their children.
Helping the most vulnerable
ActionAid will make sure we help vulnerable people who have not received aid distributions from other organizations, particularly women, children and elderly people.
The scale of the need is huge in Gaza - the conflict has destroyed the homes of over 100,000 people and has left the entire population of 1.8 million people in need of water, food, electricity, shelter and emergency medical care after critical infrastructure was destroyed.
ActionAid is appealing for funds to be able to scale up our plans to provide the long-term recovery and reconstruction that is so desperately needed.
Originally published on actionaid.org.uk