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Gaza 2009

Description of crisis

The Gaza strip is a Palestinian controlled territory on the Mediteranean coast between Egypt and Israel with a population of about 1.7 million.  It is situated in an area of conflict with about 1 million people within the territory being classed as refugees.  A conflict at the end of 2008 with Israel saw over 1,400 Palestinians killed with a further 5,380 seriously injured and 21,000 homes destroyed or damaged.

Palestinian flag

Response:

On 15 February 2009, The Scottish Government announced a total of £427,996 emergency funding for 8 Scottish based charities to give humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.  Christian Aid, Save the Children and Medical Aid for Palestine focussed on food aid and hygiene requirements of malnourished children and families. Following damage to infrastructure, Oxfam Scotland helped provide safe drinking water and removal of sewage, and Islamic Relief worked to make neighbourhoods safer by removing rubble and dangerous debris. CBM (formerly Christian Blind Mission) evacuated seriously injured children to the West Bank for specialist treatment. Glasgow The Caring City provided equipment for frontline medical workers and Edinburgh Direct Aid provided essential medical aid to the Jabliyeh area.  The news release is available here as well as a full list of funded projects in the area.

Map of Gaza

Case Study

Islamic Relief – Debris & Rubble Removal project (£75,000)

This project was designed to primarily remove debris and rubble from the main streets to provide a safe and healthy environment and enable the reconstruction process.  In addition, it provided employment opportunities for unskilled workers to earn an income. Details for each activity is given below: 

1) Renting of bulldozers and trucks

Bulldozers were rented for Gaza and Beit Lahya municipalities to remove the rubble and debris from the streets and trucks were also rented to transport the debris to a specified area.  Offers were solicited from specialized companies, an evaluation was conducted and the lowest responsive bidder was assigned

2) Providing fuel to municipalities

As municipalities were suffering from chronic financial problems and a shortage of resources, the project provided the municipalities of Beit Hanoun, Jabalya and Gaza with fuel to start using the trucks and bulldozers to remove the rubble and debris.

Offers were solicited from companies, an evaluation was made and the lowest responsive bidder was assigned

3) Creation of temporary jobs

The unemployment rates in Gaza Strip increased rapidly in the last two years, so the project assisted with the creation of 118 temporary jobs for one month to clean the streets after the bulldozer work was completed by the Islamic Relief team.  The temporary jobs were 51 in Jabalya, 52 in Beit Lahya and 15 in Beit Hanoun.

The workers were selected in co-operation with neighbourhood committees from the affected poor families and unemployed workers.

The removal of demolition waste and debris paved the way for post-recovery works such as re-starting of food factories and other workshops which stimulate the local economy.  This created an improved atmosphere for the communities and enabled some form of semblance to re-enter their lives.

The project helped municipal employees back to work as well as provide an opportunity for those who have been jobless for lengthy periods to earn an income so that they are able to purchase food supplies.

Removing rubbles easing life

7-year-old boy Ayman from Jabalya camp northern Gaza Strip was one of the terrified children during the war. He did not only hear the sound of explosions and warplanes but his home was slightly affected due to the war on Gaza. He complains, "The destruction near our home didn't allow me to go to my school."

He is still in Grade 1 at school. In addition to the psychological impact that affected almost every children in the Gaza Strip, Ayman found it a great difficulty to go to school after the end of the war because the rubbles and debris in front of his home were making it hard for the family to move freely and impossible for cars to pass.

Ayman also said,

"I was very terrified during the war. I stayed at home with my mother and father all nights and days. When the war stopped I looked out and found all this rubble. One morning before removing the rubble and debris I fell down on the ground because of a big stone I did not see when I was going to school with my sister. It hurts! I suffered for many days and used other roads to reach school until trucks and bulldozers with white flags on them came and removed the rubble. The workers kept cleaning the rubble out of the street until it became clear.  I dream not to see such war and destruction as what I saw recently. I dream to have a beautiful life with my family."