Update from DSPR/MECC about the Situation in Gaza
Dear Partners and friends
This update is based on our communication with whom we managed to reach from the Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) of the Middle East Council of Churches Gaza Area Committee and leading staff there. It’s obvious that attacking Gaza is continues and uninterrupted, the number of casualties is accelerating, the basic needs for life is almost exhausted, and the news about water and food arriving to Gaza are net even a drop in a sea of needs, as it’s not reaching people and according to UN-OCHA it’s less than 3% of the daily consumption of the commodities in Gaza. And the biggest concern is the fear and horror people are going through where no possible safe place anywhere in Gaza, and those who are still alive, they live only by God’s mercy.
The level of destruction is unbelievable, one of our colleagues said that” They changed the face of Gaza, you can’t recognize the locations and you feel that this is a strange place, as if you never been there”. No further damage happened in the DSPR main building, but our clinic in Al-Shagaeieh, is impacted and the hall used for the children activities is totally burned. No news about the other clinic in Al-Daraj, we lost contact with people there. Rafah clinic not hit, but not functioning so far, we daily discuss the security status of that clinic, we are waiting the moment that we can function there without jeopardizing the safety and security of our staff. Our staff there are coordinating with the UNICEF have the center functional, with some support from them to offer services to the people there, including food and water distribution, but the area is still under attacks and airstrikes.
We tried to get detailed information about our staff beneficiaries and property, but the connections are not possible with many of them. The news about the staff until the last 3 days says that all of them were alive, we pray and hope that this to continue be their case. During the last three days many of them scattered, almost all of them are dislocated, many went to the southern part of Gaza, some others with their relatives in different living places, and all Christian staff and most of the Area Committee members and their families are in Orthodox and Catholic Churches. After the attack to the building in the Orthodox Church’s compound, people scared much more than before, more than half of the 550 Christians refuging in the Catholic Church’s compound moved from the church property to the exact Church building, same with some other families in the Orthodox Church building.
The 5 severely injured persons who stayed alive after the attack to the church’s compound are in hospitals now, 4 of them in Ahli Hospital and one is in Al-Shifa Hospital, none of them remain as a critical case, but they have severe injuries, one spinal cord another have fractured jaw.
Resources are scarcer now, no electric currency there, the only source of power is the generators which works on fuel, while the fuel not available in the stations nor permitted to inter Gaza at all. They try to ration the use of the remaining of stored fuel to the maximum. It’s still possible to find some shops with some remaining of tent food and some other materials, but it’s so scarce and about to finish. The food, water and medical supplies that reached Rafah in southern Gaza are 2 trucks of water, 3 trucks of food and 15 trucks of medical supplies. As mentioned above, it’s very little amount for around 2.5 million. Israel is preventing any material to reach northern Gaza.
Some psycho-social support is offered to some people, especially to those who lost family members in the church, it’s not easy task to be done by anybody, but people are trying to be as supportive as possible to each other.
West Bank is under closure, no movement between districts, Israel is taking advantage of the media concentrating on Gaza to intensify its violations in West Bank and Jerusalem. Arrests campaign, it’s targeting activists and the Gaza workers, who were working inside Israel before the war, after they sent them to West Bank, mainly Bethlehem and Ramallah, now they are chasing them to be arrested. Eviction of Bedouin in different areas is taking place, more than 500 as UN-OCHA reported, the army responding very violently to the demonstrations, and settlers’ attacks are increasing.
DSPR, in cooperation with Evangelic Lutheran Church in Jordan and Holy Land, the Lutheran World Federation and HEKS/EPE (Swiss Church Aid), and with the support of ACT Secretariat, we are finalizing the Appeal which hopefully will be sent to the secretariat today. The appeal is responding to the needs in Gaza and West Bank.
It’s extremely difficult time in Gaza, you are called by our colleagues in Gaza to pray for their safety, they keep telling us to pray for their safety and the safety of all people in Gaza, they lost hope of politicians and governments, I have been told by one of them “Whoever not calling or working for immediate ceasefire is contributing to our killing and the killing of the innocent civilians in Gaza, he or she is guilty and criminal”
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” Psalms 27:1
Nader Abu Amsha, Executive Secretary and Audeh Quawas, Chairperson
Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees
Middle East Council of Churches