Human Concern international is making an urgent appeal for emergency donations to help support the people of Gaza after a deadly eight-day bombing campaign of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli Military.140 Palestinians were killed and 1,202 were injured in the eight days of conflict since 14 November 2012, when the security situation deteriorated.
The medical infrastructure in Gaza is heavily burdened by the overwhelming numbers of casualties and in addition to limited medical supplies, shell shocked civilians are also suffering from a lack of basic essentials such as food and sanitation items. Shops are running low on stocks with long queues for basics such as bread. There are restrictions on the amount of fuel that people are allowed to purchase and regular power cuts.
Over 1,500 targets were hit by the Israeli military; some of the structures destroyed include residential buildings, schools, and the offices of key Ministries such as the Ministry of Interior and with them the machine running civil life in Gaza. While most of the populations’ records had been digitalized, the department governing births, deaths, taxes, passports and drivers licenses now no longer exists.
The recent events have also had a significant impact on the psychological state of Gaza’s civilians and high levels of trauma are emerging, especially among children that have been directly exposed to life-threatening experiences that cause constant fear, shock and trauma. Many people have not been able to leave their homes or shelters for several days.
While emergency aid has started trickling in, supplies of basic foodstuffs and fuel, and the provision of medical, water and sanitation services remain critical. The long-term implications of this most recent conflict in terms of recovery and development are mounting. The livelihoods and assets of thousands of civilians have being systematically undermined through the destruction of productive resources such as shops, orchards, and basic industries.
Families that already lived in fragile conditions prior to the latest conflict find themselves today facing a new more difficult struggle to survive and rebuild their lives in the aftermath of yet another devastating military siege. The predictable dire economic conditions consequently will lead to many other problems within the single household affecting health, education and hygiene. Of particular concern is the long-term psychological impact of the conflict on children, who make up over 50 percent of the population of Gaza.
HCI has already started to act on the ground, assessing the immediate needs of the population; a post-conflict emergency and recovery plan has been drafted by HCI and its partners to be implemented immediately. The plan includes interventions related to emergency assistance for the vulnerable segments of the population, particularly women, elders and children people with special needs; people who have been internally displaced or lost their homes; and families who have lost their breadwinner.
In the following months HCI will focus on helping re-establish basic services, such as health, education, household economic revival, and psychosocial support including the provision of food and non-food supplies.
It is worth noting that HCI only targets and deals with organizations and individuals that have a long and known history in the field of relief and development and are known for it, locally and otherwise. On the organization level, we scrutinize the organizations past experiences using them as benchmarks to determine and guarantee their accountability and integrity. HCI has established a list of pre-identified criteria, which every potential partner must fulfil prior to selection. Some of the most fundamental pre-requisites that each and every one of our partners adhere to are non-political affiliation, a diverse and solid membership base, a proven history of technical and institutional capabilities, and financial transparency.
In order to further guarantee the transparency of our operations, HCI currently refrains from channeling funds into Gaza. We do however provide for in-kind support in the form of physical materials. For example, in the past beehives were offered to farmers who had lost their farms and equipments during the war. Also, equipments for home-based businesses such as sewing machines for women and widows can be provided. HCI would also assist in backyard food production through the distribution of cattle, chickens, rabbits, and seeds to families most in need. Training for young entrepreneurs and the provision of technical assistance falls under this category.
Work-for-assistance projects are also supported whereby temporary employment is secured to those who have lost their breadwinners. In this case the renovation tools offered by HCI to rehabilitate kindergartens would also involve labourers from the aforementioned category thereby extending the assistance to include income-generating activities through temporary employment.
Supplies are either transported from outside of Gaza through the Egypt, West Bank or Jordan or may be provided from within Gaza by local suppliers in agreement with HCI.
HCI is already taking action on the ground, and there are very few funds available for us to increase our programs or to launch new ones. That is why we are making this special appeal for help.
HCI follows a strict monitoring and evaluation system, which involves more than one long-term partner organization. Some of these partners provide supervision from within; others offer logistical support while others are responsible for designing and assisting in the implementation of HCI’s projects. Thus, transparency and accountability are ensured through a complex multi-level monitoring and supervision system. HCI only choose partners that have been thoroughly scrutinized, monitored, evaluated and verified in meeting our strict criteria. We value the support of our donors and every effort is made to make sure that every penny you donate goes to those who need it the most.