World Vision targets 50,000 people with emergency assistance in Gaza
Children suffering severe psychological distress according to recent World Vision report.
International humanitarian organization World Vision has launched an appeal for US$1 million to provide emergency assistance to 50,000 of the most affected people in Gaza.
As soon as the situation in Gaza permits, it plans to provide food parcels to the most vulnerable families. In particular, to those families who have fled their homes seeking sanctuary from the shelling and are now without shelter. World Vision will also distribute blankets and other basic supplies to help them cope for the short term.
“Our priority now is to assist those who are living in intolerable conditions with limited access to food, water or medical facilities,” said Charles Clayton, World Vision’s National Director for Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza. “Eighty percent of the people in Gaza are already dependent on food aid, and even those who had relied on a meager daily income now find that it is no longer available”, added Clayton
At a later stage, World Vision will develop cash or food for work activities, to help families provide for basics like medication, food and water and household supplies.
World Vision issued a report highlighting disturbing findings of a baseline survey conducted in the Beit Lahya community in North Gaza on December 18.
Significant findings include: More than 33.1 percent of families in Beit Lahya have 10 or more family members and live in extreme poverty. They rely on coupons for food and cannot afford to adequately clothe and educate their children.
Among children, bedwetting and nightmares featured heavily in focus group findings-both linked with fear and anxiety as a result of the ongoing conflict. “Most children with nightmares experience lack of concentration and attention deficit disorders,” shared a teacher in a focus group session.
While nearly every household in Beit Lahya has access to water, the quality is so poor that 95 percent of households have to buy their drinking water. Many children are affected by parasites and diarrhea, which is adequately treated in only 24 percent of cases.
“After 6 days of bombing, the number of children showing signs of trauma is rapidly increasing” said Mohammad El Halaby, World Vision’s programme manager in North Gaza. With shelling going on hourly and randomly, World Vision’s activities in the Gaza strip have come to a halt. El Halaby and his team are however checking daily on wellbeing and safety of the 1,500 children and their families, who are part of the regular aid activities and supported by child sponsors from all over the world.
The survey was conducted just days before the recent outbreak of violence and since then World Vision has seen the situation of the Beit Lahya community worsen significantly.
World Vision continues to advocate for a complete cessation of violence, and for all parties to respect International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention.
(Read HERE a report on poverty and the situation of children in Gaza.)