DSPR Update from Gaza – February 2024

DSPR Update from Gaza – February 2024

[The following is an update from Gaza, provided by the Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), a partner of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, through Global Ministries.]

In Gaza, after more than 4 months of war, tens of thousands are killed and injured while hundreds of thousands (according to UNRWA) more than half a million people in Gaza are currently facing “catastrophic hunger.”  

A large-scale offensive into the city of Rafah where over one million are reported sheltering will have catastrophic consequences leading to more civilian deaths and potentially collapsing of the relief system. 

Our humanitarian response has been facing several challenges including access and mobility where we have not been able to work through our centers except in Rafah, and finding humanitarian-related goods and inputs if found are much more expensive. In addition, we have been facing a very difficult security context with no electricity and very little fuel to run electricity in the centre.  

So far, DSPR has been working with extremely limited resources, but has responded to the crisis through the following:  

  1. Providing primary health and dental care in their Rafah clinic as well as providing health awareness and distributing dignity and hygiene kits
  2. Psychosocial Support Interventions (MHPSS) to children and mothers through small group sessions and large play sessions for children.  
  3. Unconditional cash distribution to provide for basic needs such as purchasing water, food and other important needs for families.  
  1. Coordination with other services providers, including joining the health and protection cluster in Rafah is a priority. 

Our work together with international partners supporting this response is much appreciated and reflects the church’s commitment to join with others in the common task of caring for one another and the whole of God’s creation, to see a world transformed by love.  


Providing primary health and dental care in the Rafah clinic. In the middle and south Gaza, DSPR-NECC’s clinic is one of four centres that continues to serve the population. Services provided include and are not limited to primary health care, dental care, medical laboratory services, pharmacy; mother and child health support, psychosocial support and provide essential medicines and hygiene kits. So far, we have been able to reach 8,654 children and adults (females represent 62% of the beneficiaries) since the beginning of the humanitarian response. (This number does not capture an additional estimated number of two thousand other beneficiaries who were served in the clinic before our staff’s official registration process)  

The registered number of beneficiaries is divided as follows: 

  • 592 beneficiaries in antenatal care beneficiaries  
  • 1253 beneficiaries in the dental clinic  
  • 41 beneficiaries in family planning  
  • 3799 beneficiaries in the general clinic (communicable and non-communicable diseases)  
  • 565 beneficiaries in the malnutrition (services) project  
  • 1136 beneficiaries in paediatrics  
  • 20 beneficiaries in prenatal care  
  • 113 beneficiaries in pre-conception care  
  • 1135 beneficiaries in the well-baby services 
  • All the beneficiaries received the needed medications from our pharmacy 

Many of the patients are invited to special health awareness sessions at the Rafah clinic DSPR (visitors who also received dignity and around 1000 hygiene kits).  


More than 620 families have received cash transfers for basic needs such as purchasing water, food and other important needs for families.  Each beneficiary family received 750 NIS (appr 190 UD$) as a first payment to rapidly relieve their current situation allowing them to purchase their most urgent basic needs such as food, water, winter clothing, medicines etc. PalPay (a Palestinian e-payment solution using mobile phone SMS technology) was used as the primary method in disbursing cash support to its beneficiaries of different geographical areas.


DSPR-NECC has supported children and mothers with psychosocial support in south Gaza through small group sessions and large play sessions for children, in addition to psychological first aid sessions. 9 mental health staff along with 4 facilitators/volunteers started interventions in the UNRWA shelters/schools where the field teams have been able to coordinate mainly in Rafah and Al Qarara areas. The teams reached more than 4546 people in 7 UN shelters in Rafah, Khan Younes, over the course of one-week taking shelter in refugee camps and schools. The psychological support mainly targeted children and mothers. The main goals of working with children focused on psychological relief and restoring some normalcy, eliminating the psychological stagnation resulting from the pressures to which children are exposed; restoring hope and optimism through psychological and recreational support; bringing joy to children by distributing gifts and participating in group and individual activities; connecting parents and children through several activities, reducing the psychological pressures that children are exposed to through parachute activities and group games; relaxation exercises and the ability to restore psychological balance for children; furthermore, staff procured packages and supplies including colouring pens, child-friendly scissors, balls, crayons, as well as other materials used during the interventions.  A healthy snack composed of mineral water and a nutritious palm date was provided to each participant. 

During the open days, activities included:  

  • Implementing group activities for children in the shelter centre courtyard (entertainment – theatrical sketches – puppet games – sports games – individual – group) 
  • Group psychological venting games (movement games with music using the Parachute) 
  • Psychological support songs with music 
  • Relaxation exercises – breathing and collective movement. 
  • Physical activation games (self and body awareness), painting  
  • Group competitive games 

As for parents’ activities, these included  

  • Self-awareness and mechanisms to support themselves and children. 
  • Families movement activities – individual and group, to break the psychological stagnation 
  • Conscious breathing techniques to relieve psychological stress 
  • Group games (movement and music) 
  • Group painting  
  • Psychological and emotional release and learning stress management skills. 

The destruction of our premises, the limitations of our resources, the poor connection and fragmentation never prevented DSPR-NECC from keeping a light in the middle of darkness and trying to help people live with dignity.

“I came that they may have life and may have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Dr. Bassam, the leader of our medical operations, using a carriage to bring an electrical generator to the clinic in Rahaf. 

What has been done so far and what we are doing now can’t be achieved without the generous support of our partners. Thank you our great partners

“For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 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