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Who we're helping in Gaza

January 12, 2009

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Mercy Corps  </span>
    Khawla Shesh and family. Photo: Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Mercy Corps  </span>
    Hamid Faris Abu Qamar and family. Photo: Mercy Corps

On Saturday we delivered a truckload of mattresses, pillows, blankets, diapers and powdered milk to 50 families who've been displaced by Israeli military action and are now taking shelter in a UN-run school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

One of the recipients was Khawla Shesh's family of 11. She told her story to one of our aid workers:

Four days ago, the Israeli army heavily shelled the houses in our neighborhood. Our house took a direct hit, which resulted in the destruction of the bigger part of the house and an arm injury to one of our children.

We have been forced to leave our house to seek a safer place. We left home under heavy fire by the Israelis without any form of protection by the Red Crescent Society or the Gaza EMS. The bullets where whistling just above our heads. We had nothing with us — no bedding, no clothes, no food….

We have been in this UNRWA shelter for four days. We live in a classroom together with several other families. They are not adequate for living; they're very cold and we do not feel secure in the shelter (a school in the same camp was shelled by the Israeli's in a high-profile incident last week).

Hamid Faris Abu Qamar also told us how the conflict has affected his nine-person family.

We live in a house that is next to a former Civil Administration building. Ten days ago, our house was destroyed when F-16 fighters bombed the building. My daughter was injured.

Following that, we were forced to leave our house for a safer place. We could not bring anything with us — neither food nor bedding nor clothing.

For 10 days, we have been staying at a temporary refuge center — a classroom with several other families. We don't have enough food, and have been suffering from severe cold. My son and daughter are currently suffering from diarrhea and vomiting. I am personally ill, as well. We need medicines but cannot afford them. We are also very scared.