DSPR Update from Gaza – December 2023

DSPR Update from Gaza – December 2023

[The Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) has provided this update about the situation of the MECC- DSPR in Gaza, especially after the failure to extend the pause and the renewal of the attacks.]

The situation continues to be very dangerous and catastrophic, the Israeli airstrikes and artillery bombardment of buildings, institutions and residential locations are intense, stronger and nonstop; it’s creating more damage and forcibly displacing more people to the south, while the south became a target for increasing attacks and invasion for the last 3 days! This has also severely affected our staff and premises. Sadly, another staff member lost her life with her husband and child in an airstrike to their homes, no further information is available….

Unfortunately, our medical center in the Al-Daraj area has been bombarded and leveled to the ground, and the primary health care clinics, the pharmacy, the physiotherapy, the optical and the dental clinics and the psycho-social unit, do not exist anymore… nobody from our staff was there but unfortunately tens of neighbors who used to be our clients were killed and injured in that bombardment.  

Nevertheless, our staff are proceeding in response to the huge needs and to reduce the pain and suffering of the people in Gaza; we are proud of them, we believe that they are real heroes, they are standing for care and support, working days and nights while trying to take care of their family members and themselves. Two days ago, our colleague Abdalla, and his family, fled from their home, he told us “We left at the right time, we discovered that the Israeli tanks were 1 kilometer away from us”. Yesterday morning Abdalla joined the team in Rafah to arrange for the psycho-social activities for the displaced children. 

Below is a summary of our work in Gaza that our colleagues are conducting under fire:

  • Now we are working, mainly, with the forcibly displaced people in the south of the Gaza Strip, we are targeting children and mothers for the Psychosocial interventions, it’s in small groups of mothers and children, in addition to big gatherings for children. To help ventilate the psychological pressure they have as a result of the traumatic experiences they went through, and to reduce the possible development of this into a psychological illness.
  • We do training in psychological first Aid (PFA) to help groups of people to be with help and reduce panic in emergencies, which is always there.
  • We distribute hygiene kits to help and enable raising the level of hygiene and cleanness and reduce the spread of communicable diseases. 
  • Organizing health awareness days for groups of mothers to help better health and nutrition behaviours.
  • Receiving the people in DSPR-NECC Rafah Clinic for primary health care services, including offering some medicine and health supplies.
  • Offering unrestricted cash distribution to 620 households, minimum USD 100 and Maximum 190., this is the Pal-Pay system which we organized with the Bank of Palestine, which will check the eligibility and send the money to individuals, through his branches there and his network of partners in Gaza.

Most of the Christian Community members remain in the 2 Churches, around 800 of them, we managed to bring them food and some basic supplies during the pause, they are in dear need of medicine for specific cases, and we are trying our best but with little success. The invasion now is very close to the churches…

It’s cold and rainy now, the tiny spaces they have and the plastic sheets many are sleeping under can’t keep them warm and dry. 

“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.”
Matthew 25:35-36.