July this month marks the second anniversary of the beginning of the war in Gaza, 2014, where more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, of which 1,462 were civilians and a large proportion children and women.
The ceasefire which followed the 51-day war promised a new beginning with pledges to ease the devastating restrictions caused by the near 10-year blockade on Gaza.
Sadly for the 1.8 million Palestinians living in Gaza, their situation has continued to deteriorate. More than 75,000 Palestinians in Gaza are still homeless. Meanwhile entire neighbourhoods remain cut off from water supplies.
To mark 2 years since the last war on Gaza, ActionAid and more than 30 other international NGOs are supporting an Avaaz petition calling for an end to the blockade on Gaza. Please show your support by signing this petition here.
Key resources and fast facts
For further facts about the situation in Gaza see below for quick facts about the current situation in Gaza.
Watch this short video about Gaza, produced by Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), of which ActionAid is a part of.
Personal stories of those affected by war and the blockade
65 year old Fawzia lives in Gaza, in the border area (with Israel) east of Johor Al Deek.
Fawzia has diabetes and high blood pressure. Her husband had a stroke, which led to him having a disability in his leg, and he also needs frequent renal dialysis. Getting medical supplies and accessing treatment is very hard for Fawzia and her husband due to the restrictions imposed by the near 10 year blockade on Gaza. Fawzia's son Mohammed was also injured by the Israeli military in the 2012 war and can barely walk, making it difficult for him to earn a living.
Fawzia's farm and home were bombed in the 2014 war – they had only just repaired the farm from the previous war two years before. She says "The three wars on Gaza have destroyed our farm and uprooted the olive trees and vegetables we once had." When her house was bombed, Fawzia and her family had to flee her home and take refuge at an UNRWA school for 48 days. The farm, Fawzia says, was the "only source of income for us. I am [now] unable to buy clothes for my children … my neighbours sometimes offer me used clothes."
Fawzia wishes there was peace, enough food, water and electricity, and economic stability. When asked what she wants to see happen in the future, Fawzia replied by saying she wants her children to complete their university education, secure a good job and live a happy life.
Farmers across Middle Gaza have similar problems of livestock loss with most of their farms in the Access Restricted Area which is tightly controlled by the Israeli Military. Lands in this area were amongst the hardest-hit in last war, with over two thirds of homes destroyed or damaged, and up to 1,800 hectares of agricultural lands affected.
15 year old Mustafa lives in Wadi Gaza near Al Nuseirat. He lives with his parents, two brothers and three sisters. One of his brothers was killed during the Gaza war in 2014. His brother went out to search for food and an Israeli airstrike hit him. He died immediately.
He adds: "My father is unemployed, and my mother sews clothes for friends, relatives and neighbours. She earns about USD 100 per month and that is all the money we have. We are a poor family."
Mustafa lives in Wadi Gaza which is far from his school, based in Al Mograqa, and is polluted due to waste water from an Israeli settlement, located at the east of Gaza. Often contaminated water floods his home. He loves football but cannot always find a suitable environment because of the lack of suitable playground and the many hazards. He says "When I play football in the streets I get injured by sharp objects and stones. I wish we could have a safe place to play."
Mustafa has many dreams of becoming an artist,"I wish to become a famous painter who is well-known across different media channels" says Mustafa "but unfortunately, I see little hope reaching this goal under these terrible circumstances in Gaza." Despite the challenges, he remains determined to seek out a better life for himself and continues to hold onto his aspirations.
Gaza's environment is heavily polluted, with residents being squeezed into a densely populated area of 1.8 million, with almost no access to clean water and poor sanitation systems. This is compounded byIsraeli settlements, surrounding east Gaza, which open waste from water dams and flood the middle of Gaza with contaminated water at least three times a year.
These stories were collected and ghost written by Uma Rai, Child Sponsorship Manager.