IDRF has entered the second phase of our relief effort in Palestine by working to provide water distribution, psychosocial support, reconstruction of destroyed homes and schools throughout Gaza.
This latest phase builds on our initial response which provided emergency food packs, food vouchers and medical supplies to Palestinians severely impacted by the violence in Gaza and East Jerusalem.
The violence began in East Jerusalem in early May during protests of an anticipated decision of the Supreme Court of Israel to evict six Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarra, which is a part of the occupied Palestinian territories governed by Israel. The protest and resulting violence escalated into full armed conflict between Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israeli defense forces on May 10, and ended on May 21 after a negotiated ceasefire.
The 11-days of fighting resulted in a humanitarian crisis, injuring thousands of people, and killing at least 250 Palestinians, including more than 100 women and children. Thousands of people have been left homeless from airstrikes, which have also destroyed local businesses, houses, stores, and public infrastructure. In total, estimates peg the damage at more than $250 million.
As soon as the ceasefire went into effect, we began providing food packs, food vouchers and medical supplies in East Jerusalem and Gaza. More than 1,000 food packs were packed and distributed in the first week, providing thousands of families with enough essential food to last for one month. In addition, food vouchers were provided for people who were able to shop for themselves, allowing them to select items specific to their family’s needs.
Furthermore, packages that included medication, disposable hygiene supplies, and medical equipment were sent to patients and front-line responders at the Al-Shifa and Haya Hospitals. The medical supplies were used to treat those who had been recently injured, including those with serious injuries that required significant care. These packages provided some relief to the hospitals, allowing them to continue with their medical work without worrying about limited supplies.
With the first few weeks of emergency aid complete and the ceasefire still holding, we have now entered the second phase of our relief efforts in Palestine by working with our trusted local field team to offer water distribution and help reconstruct family homes destroyed by the conflict. We are also continuing to implement programs that focus on providing psychosocial support for children who have been emotionally scarred by the fighting and the resulting loss of life. While also rebuilding two schools in Gaza.
In addition, we continue to provide funding to support children’s education, recreation, and arts programs. Over the years, these programs have positively impacted the lives of more than 10,000 students.
IDRF has been implementing sustainable development programs including food, water, education, healthcare, agriculture, and psychosocial support programs in Gaza for more than 10 years. As a result, we have the ability and resources to quickly divert additional funds to emergency relief efforts during times of crisis as we are doing now in Palestine.
In addition, because of our long-standing relationships and ongoing work in the region, we can directly transfer the donations we receive to the bank accounts of our local teams without going through an intermediary organization or political group. This allows donations to quickly reach the staff and volunteers of our partners in Palestine, who work tirelessly and efficiently to deliver supplies and relief aid to the neediest people.
While our efforts are making a positive difference in Palestine, the need is great and will remain so for a long time. That’s why we launched our Urgent Appeal for Palestine, and why we continue to ask for donations to this worthy cause.