Clearly marked ANERA vehicles during the war in Gaza.

Crisis in Gaza 2014, ANERA Response Log

September 18th, 2014 by ANERA

Thanks to a dedicated and generous community of donors, ANERA’s Gaza staff was able to respond immediately to the bombings in Gaza. 

ANERA is one of the few international organizations that consistently gets health care and humanitarian relief supplies into Gaza. Since our Gaza office opened in 1984, ANERA has built or renovated infrastructure, linked homes to drinkable water sources, provided jobs, and delivered medicines to hospitals. Our networks are extensive and our staff is deeply committed to helping their fellow Palestinians in Gaza.

This log will be updated WEEKLY to provide an ongoing report back to donors on the ways ANERA is responding during this current crisis. 

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September 12-18, 2014 |Weekly summary

Delivered 13,970 vials of the antibiotic Ceftriaxone to Al Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s biggest surgical facility. This expensive, scarce medicine was purchased in the West Bank.

Five tanker trucks delivered, cumulatively over 21 days, 12,976,000 liters of drinking water to 87 communal water tanks throughout Khan Younis, Jabalia, El-Bureij, El-Maghazi, the Middle Area, Zahra, Shejaeya and Zaytoon.

Received in the warehouse an IHP-funded shipment, valued at $414,940, containing a variety of medicines for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and allergies.

Delivered 255,700 liters of fuel to water desalination, wastewater treatment plants, water wells and pumping stations from the far north to the far south of Gaza.

NOTE: ANERA Gaza education, health and agriculture teams continue to conduct post-war damage assessments of ANERA-supported facilities to determine the scope of the damage, the capacity to respond with materials available within Gaza, and longer-term rebuilding plans based on the availability of materials from outside of Gaza.

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September 5-11, 2014 |Weekly summary

ANERA Gaza education, health and agriculture teams are conducting post-war damage assessments of ANERA-supported facilities to determine the scope of the damage, the capacity to respond with materials available within Gaza, and longer-term rebuilding plans based on the availability of materials from outside of Gaza.

Distributed $548,000 worth of donated children’s antibiotics, allergy medicines and other medical supplies to 16 health facilities.

Received at our Gaza warehouse 13,970 vials of the antibiotic Ceftriaxone. This expensive, scarce medicine was purchased in the West Bank. 

Five tanker trucks delivered, cumulatively, 9,807,000 liters of drinking water to 87 communal water tanks throughout Khan Younis, Jabalia, El-Bureij, El-Maghazi, the Middle Area, Zahra, Shejaeya and Zaytoon.

Delivered 115,700 liters of fuel to water desalination, wastewater treatment plants, water wells and pumping stations from the far north to the far south of Gaza.

Distributed 1,757 hygiene kits to displaced families at UN shelters in Gaza City, Kahn Younis, Rafah, and Middle Area.

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August 29-September 4, 2014 |Weekly summary

Distributed food parcels to 500 displaced families. With funds from individual donors, ANERA has provided a total of 2,111 families with food parcels.

Five tanker trucks delivered 9,073,000 liters of drinking water to 87 communal water tanks throughout Khan Younis, Jabalia, El-Bureij, El-Maghazi, the Middle Area, and Zahra. This includes an additional 37 water tanks ANERA set up in the Shejaeya and Zaytoon areas.

With USAID funds, delivered 115,700 liters of fuel to water desalination, wastewater treatment plants, water wells and pumping stations from the far north to the far south of Gaza.

ANERA’s early childhood development team has been systematically doing damage assessments at more than 150 preschools across Gaza to plan for rehabilitation as soon as possible. Their findings so far show that approximately 60% of schools have sustained damage, some of which is severe. Schools are due to go back into session in mid-September.

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August 10-28, 2014 |Weekly summary

Five tanker trucks delivered 5,571,000 liters of drinkable water to 50 communal water tanks throughout Khan Younis, Jabalia, El-Bureij, El-Maghazi, the middle area, Zahra, Gaza City and Zaytoon.

Delivered 62,900 liters of fuel to desalination and wastewater treatment plants across all of Gaza, benefiting over a million people.

With USAID funds, cumulatively, ANERA has delivered 429,732 liters of bottled water, 19,484 hygiene kits, and 13,680 liters of liquid soap to 40 UN shelters in Gaza City, Beit Lahia and Jabalia.

A Gaza family sheltering at a UN school gets hygiene kits and water.

A Gaza family sheltering at a UN school gets hygiene kits and water.

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August 9-21, 2014 |Weekly summary

Distributed food parcels to 1,250 displaced families.

Distributed dignity kits to 1,500 displaced women in coordination with five local partners.

Provided 7,000 liters of fuel to the Deir Al Balah water desalination plant, enough to keep it running for a week.

Five tanker trucks delivered 2,702,000 liters of drinkable water to 50 communal water tanks throughout Khan Younis, Jabalia, El-Bureij, El-Maghazi, the middle area, Zahra, and Gaza City.

Delivered 139,104 liters of bottled water and 2,240 hygiene kits to more than 4,000 displaced families in 13 UN shelters located in Jabalia, Beit Lahia and Gaza City.

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August 20, 2014 |Deliveries made despite resumption of hostilities

In the past 24 hours ANERA brought three trucks into Gaza and distributed 13,440 bottles of water, 1,065 hygiene kits, and 720 containers of liquid soap (USAID-funded) to families in two UN shelters. ANERA staff members coordinate and accompany these shipments on a daily basis to ensure they safely get to where they are most needed.

ANERA staff members Sami Mater and Mohammad Ghossein deliver much-needed bottles of water to UN schools where Gaza families are sheltering.

ANERA staff members Sami Mater and Mohammad Ghossein deliver bottles of water to UN shelters for displaced Gaza families.

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August 8-14, 2014 |Weekly summary

Distributed 244,260 liters of water, 8,312 hygiene kits, and 6,480 liters of liquid soap to 12,506 displaced families in 32 UN shelters.

Purchased $100,000 worth of antibiotics, anesthetics and anti-coagulants in the West Bank and delivered them to Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Set up 50 large water tanks in central locations across Khan Younis, Jabalia, El Maghazi and El Bureij. Throughout the week, ANERA sent over a million liters of water to continually refill the tanks. This is daily and ongoing.

Provided fuel to the Deir Al Balah water desalination plant to maintain power at the facility during this time of critically short water supplies. ANERA has pledged to provide them with enough fuel to keep the plant running for two weeks.

Boys fill up water jugs in Khan Younis, where ANERA set up and continually refills 20 communal water tanks, each with a capacity of 2,400 liters (634 gallons).

Boys fill up water jugs in Khan Younis, where ANERA set up and continually refills 20 communal water tanks, each with a capacity of 2,400 liters (634 gallons).

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August 5, 2014 |Food parcels, hygiene kits and water distributed

Today was the first time in nearly a month that all 16 of ANERA’s Gaza staff was able to go out and work safely. These are just a few of the things they accomplished:

  • 1,600 displaced families in Beit Lahia and Gaza City received parcels with ready-to-eat foods
  • 100,000-liter water tanker sent to Abassan to fill 10 tanks accessible to families in this hard-hit area of Khan Younis
  • 1 truck of bottled water brought in from Jerusalam and distributed 840 displaced families at three UNRWA schools
  • 2 trucks of hygiene kits brought in from Jerusalem and distributed to 9,600 displaced families at UNRWA schools

### NOTE: ANERA’s response log will be updated on a weekly basis. Next update will be August 14. ###

Packing up hygiene kits filled with soap, toothbrushes, towels and other personal hygiene items.

Packing up hygiene kits filled with soap, toothbrushes, towels and other personal hygiene items for displaced families in Gaza. These items were purchased and packed in the West Bank.

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August 4, 2014 |Food parcels and water distributed

ANERA distributed food parcels to 1,000 displaced families taking refuge at a Gaza church and a nearby school. The parcels include water and are filled with ready-to-eat items like hummus, meats, cheeses and tuna fish. These three delivery locations are not served by the UN and the needs are great.

ANERA also brought in from Jerusalem two trucks of water and two trucks of hygiene kits, each containing soap, toothbrushes and other personal hygiene supplies. The items, purchased with USAID funds, were delivered to 1680 displaced families sheltering at 3 UN schools in Gaza City.

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August 3, 2014 |Hospitals pick up medicines, water is delivered to displaced families

Three hospitals came to the ANERA warehouse in Gaza City today to pick up antibiotics, painkillers and surgical supplies donated by AmeriCares. With the influx of wounded, most health care facilities have depleted their supplies of these vital items. ANERA is currently working to clear another shipment of antibiotics, penicillin, and syringes into Gaza.

A third truck of bottled water from Jerusalem was delivered to 840 displaced families at UN shelters in Gaza City.

A young boy enjoys some water that ANERA just delivered to the school where he and his family have been taking refuge.

A young boy enjoys some water that ANERA just delivered to the school where he and his family have been taking refuge.

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August 2, 2014 |Trucks with water arrive at shelters in Gaza

The first 2 of 35 trucks loaded with water bottles, purchased with USAID funds, have made it into Gaza. ANERA immediately delivered the water to 1,680 displaced families at eight UN schools. Every truck that gets into Gaza is an accomplishment — the result of many hours of behind-the-scenes vetting of vendors, arranging logistics, determining the best shipping route within Gaza, and coordinating with the UN for safe passage. 

In Jerusalem, ANERA loaded two trucks with enough water for more than 1,600 displaced families in Gaza.

In Jerusalem, ANERA loaded two trucks with enough water for more than 1,600 displaced families in Gaza.

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July 30-31 & August 1, 2014 |Water and hygiene kits procured 

Using USAID funds, ANERA has purchased enough drinking water and hygiene kits for approximately 70,000 displaced people in UN shelters. The kits contain soap, toothbrushes and other personal hygiene items. This shipment is being sent from the West Bank and will be delivered in the coming days to the many families in Gaza who left their homes with nothing. They will bring a small, yet very important comfort to people who have lost everything. More of these distributions are planned for the coming days.

With intensified shelling in Gaza City, ANERA staff of 16 cannot safely travel. They remain in their homes.

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July 29, 2014 |Dignity kits for women 

ANERA is currently purchasing supplies for dignity kits to be distributed to 700 women displaced from their homes. The items, which come from local Gaza wholesalers, will be distributed in the coming days in coodination with local community organizations. The kits contain an abaya (robe), hijab (head scarf), flip-flops, underwear, hand wipes, sanitary napkins, a hand towel, and an assortment of toiletries.

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July 27-28, 2014 |Streets unsafe 

Staff stayed indoors, as streets are unsafe for travel. In the meantime, they are coordinating procurement of more relief items, like dignity kits for women and food parcels, and deliveries of medicines to health care facilities.

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July 26, 2014 |Antibiotics shipment gets through crossing into Gaza

ANERA got a shipment of 24,366 vials of the antibiotic Ceftriaxon through the Karem Shalom crossing today. The medicine was purchased in the West Bank with funds from ANERA donors. ANERA staff took advantage of the 12-hour ceasefire and immediately delivered the life-saving medicine to Gaza’s largest hospital.

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July 25, 2014 |More food parcels purchased

With money that was donated over the past week, ANERA’s staff in Gaza has been able to purchase 2,000 food parcels, containing:

  • Hummus
  • Foul
  • Two types of cheese
  • A variety of meats
  • Jam
  • Halva
  • Date syrup
  • Tuna fish
  • Bottled water

Over the next two days, we will be distributing these parcels in Gaza City in locations where displaced families have been taking refuge.

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July 24, 2014 |New shipment cleared at port

A big shipment of medicines and medical supplies has just cleared through the border thanks to ANERA’s West Bank team. This AmeriCares donation of antibiotics, penicillin, and syringes is valued at over $500,000. Clearing a shipment of this size during this difficult time is an important achievement. All the difficult logistical work done by our Gaza warehouse staff means we will have the space and capacity to receive and distribute this new shipment and more thereafter. 

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July 23, 2014 |Antibiotics delivered to hospital

ANERA delivered 5,500 vials of life-saving antibiotics to Gaza’s largest surgical hospital. Staff in ANERA’s Gaza warehouse continue to organize and prepare a very large shipment of medicines and medical supplies for delivery to various hospitals and medical facilities.

ANERA's Gaza pharmacist and warehouse manager, Mostafa Al Ghosain, delivers 5,500 vials of life-saving antibiotics to Gaza's largest surgical hospital.

Mostafa Al Ghosain delivers life-saving antibiotics to Gaza’s largest surgical hospital.

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July 22, 2014 |Staff working at warehouse

Despite very dangerous conditions, ANERA staff went to our Gaza City warehouse today and began readying cases of medicines and medical supplies for distribution to hospitals. Coordination also began on delivering thousands of vials of Ceftriaxone (an antibiotic in extremely short supply) to Gaza’s largest hospital. Unfortunately, the delivery has been delayed until tomorrow – the teams that ANERA usually works with to distribute medicines are either overwhelmed or can’t risk the danger of going out on to the streets.

A Gaza father signs up for ANERA's emergency food parcels during Gaza war.

A Gaza father signs up for ANERA’s emergency food parcels during Gaza war.

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July 21, 2014 |Food parcels going to the south

Gaza staff dispatched food parcels for 500 families in the Khan Younis and Rafah areas. ANERA used recent donations to purchase the desperately needed parcels at the end of last week. 

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July 19-20, 2014 |With streets unsafe for any travel, staff remain in their homes

Staff were asked to stay indoors as streets remain unsafe during the ground invasion. There are 500 boxes of food and 600 boxes of medicines and medical supplies in our Gaza warehouse ready for immediate distribution as soon as conditions allow it. So far the “humanitarian pauses” in violence have been too short to carry out any form of delivery.

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Friday, July 18, 2014 |ANERA staff have been asked to stay home

A number of our Gaza staff were intent on going to the ANERA warehouse to continue preparing 600 boxes of medicines and medical supplies for distribution. However, because of increased danger from the recent ground invasion, they were asked to stay off the streets today.

ANERA has 600 boxes of medicines and medical supplies in our Gaza warehouse ready for distribution as soon as conditions allow it.

ANERA has 600 boxes of medicines and medical supplies in our Gaza warehouse ready for distribution as soon as conditions allow it.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014 |Antibiotics receive Ministry of Health approval

ANERA got immediate approval from the Ministry of Health in Ramallah to purchase 29,866 vials of Ceftrixone from the West Bank for delivery into Gaza. This is a life-saving antibiotic used during emergency surgeries that is virtually unavailable in Gaza. Staff in Gaza, who have not taken a break since the bombing began, took advantage of the 6-hour ceasefire to rest and buy supplies for their families. 

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014 |Purchasing antibiotics, food parcels and hygiene kits

Donations in recent days have allowed ANERA to make an immediate purchase of antibiotics, food parcels and hygiene kits. Our West Bank staff are coordinating the procurement of these items. We also have a large AmeriCares shipment (valued at $545,000) of medicines and surgical supplies that has been cleared and is ready to enter Gaza. In the meantime, our Gaza staff continues to coordinate distribution of medicines already in our Gaza City warehouse.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014 |Preparing for another large distribution of medical supplies

ANERA staff is hard at work in our Gaza warehouse preparing and organizing a large quantity of donated health care supplies and medicines for distribution to hospitals throughout Gaza. Most hospitals have dangerously low stocks of antibiotics and painkillers, which account for a large portion of these supplies.

An ANERA warehouse staff member in Gaza moves one of many pallets of health care supplies and medicines.

An ANERA warehouse staff member moves one of many pallets of health care supplies and medicines, donated by AmeriCares.

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Monday, July 14, 2014 | Medicines to Gaza’s largest hospital, food parcel distribution complete

ANERA provided Gaza’s biggest hospital with a large quantity of medicines and medical supplies. Hospital staff tell us that their most urgently needed medicines are antibiotics for post surgery treatment – thankfully antibiotics are part of our next distribution which is being prepared and organized in our Gaza warehouse today. At this point all Ramadan food parcels have been distributed to families throughout Gaza.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014 | Large shipment of medicines and medical supplies received in warehouse

Braving very dangerous conditions, ANERA’s staff received in our Gaza City warehouse a large shipment of emergency health care supplies including gauze, syringes, surgical gloves, sutures, bandages and medicines. Donated by AmeriCares and valued at $1,394,000, the supplies are quickly being readied for distribution to hospitals with dangerously depleted stocks.

With funding from the Zakat Foundation, ANERA provided food parcels to hundreds of families in Gaza City.

One father picks up a parcel of food from ANERA filled with necessities like cooking oil, beans and pasta.

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Saturday, July 12, 2014 | Ramadan food parcels distributed

From ANERA’s Gaza office director, Nahed Al-Wehaidi: “I have just arrived home safely after having given out all the food parcels to our local partners in Deir Balah, Gaza city, and Beit Lahia. Our Deir Balah partner started the distribution to families as soon as I arrived, as the situation is getting worst there in terms of safety/security. The other 2 partners will start the distribution tomorrow.”

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Friday, July 11, 2014 | Preparing Ramadan food parcels

Hundreds of Ramadan food parcels are being prepared by ANERA staff in Gaza. Each package contains a variety of essentials like tahini, tuna, sugar, tea, macaroni, lentils and other beans, tomato paste, rice, juice, cheese, and cooking oil. All of the food was purchased locally. Distribution is set to begin tomorrow after a delay due to the current violence.

Ambulance at ANERA’s Gaza City warehouseloads up with medicines such as antibiotics and painkillers for treating the huge influx of wounded people.

Ambulance picking up medicines at ANERA’s Gaza city warehouse.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014 | Distribution of urgent medicines

Ambulances arrived at ANERA’s warehouse on Thursday and were loaded with urgently needed medicines such as antibiotics and painkillers for treating the huge influx of wounded people. The medicines, donated by Direct Relief and valued at $1,444,000, were delivered to 6 hospitals and clinics around Gaza. This is one of the first deliveries of medicines to health care facilities in Gaza during the current crisis.  

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Bill Corcoran looks at destroyed buildings in Gaza.

Gaza Trip Report, September 2014

September 10th, 2014 by ANERA

by ANERA President Bill Corcoran

With the buzz of drones overhead I was processed through Erez Crossing into Gaza. My baggage comprised two backpacks full of gifts from HQ staff for Gaza co-workers and water bottles for me. On the other side, the Hamas terminal had been obliterated by bombing, along with the luggage scanners and banks of computers for data processing. It was all replaced by a small trailer and some note takers with pad and pen. No bags were checked.

Once we left the terminal, I could see the full extent of the damage. I was shocked, even after having worked in Indonesia after the Tsunami.

Beit Hanoon (in the north) almost doesn’t exist anymore. Numbers are still being gathered, but an estimated 60% of the homes were made useless, at least for now. Once a fertile agricultural area, its destroyed fields can’t even be accessed now for fear of unexploded bombs. Animals by the hundreds were killed in their pens and coops. Water wells were damaged so irrigation is impossible.

Farmland and greenhouses throughout Gaza's agriculture communities were destroyed.

Farmland and greenhouses throughout Gaza’s agriculture communities were destroyed.

Our partner, Al Najda Farm Cooperative, lost four tons of processed food when the refrigerator units were machine-gunned. They were distributing our food parcels when I arrived. Teenagers ran up to me thanking ANERA for the food we have distributed. Many of the ANERA food parcels were packaged in reusable plastic laundry baskets. This was part ingenuity and part necessity on the part of our staff. Gaza’s only cardboard factory had been destroyed. In fact, over 150 factories have been leveled, including those essential to rebuilding and food production. Experts estimate it will take a year for most of the power grid to be operational, provided that spare parts for repair are allowed into Gaza.

A mother picks up an ANERA food parcel filled with good quality, ready-to-eat foods packed in a reusable laundry basket.

A mother picks up an ANERA food parcel filled with good quality, ready-to-eat foods packed in a reusable laundry basket.

During the four days I spent in Gaza I saw our staff energized by the work they were doing.

During the four days I spent in Gaza I saw our staff energized by the work they were doing, as their relief efforts reach more and more families and their damage assessments move forward. But they cannot completely ease their fear that the ceasefire may not hold. They also worry that if restrictions are not eased for the entry of building materials and the freer passage of people, then their future is bleak.

As I drove through different communities I was seeing the new normal of Gaza. Between Khan Younis and Rafah along the new Israeli buffer zone, villages like Khoza’a were 75% wiped out. Abissan was less so because it was more rural. But their fields are unworkable. Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC), calculates that just restoring production capacity will cost $500 million.

One of many children ANERA President Bill Corcoran saw during his trip to Gaza in September 2014.

One of many barefooted children Bill Corcoran saw during his Gaza trip.

Many families spray-painted their names and cellphone numbers on their homes during the war. It was a way to claim ownership and also a means of notification if the house were damaged. Other homes now display bright plastic banners depicting a loved one who died there. Too many of these photos were of children.

Amid the despair and sadness, there is one image that remains with me from my trip to Gaza: an elderly Palestinian sitting with his grandchildren outside the remains of his house. When he saw me and ANERA staffer Rania Elhilou snapping photos, he insisted that we sit with him on some broken white plastic chairs there and have some tea. Dignity and hospitality even amid the ruins. This is Gaza.

Bill Corcoran visits one of the 87 2,500-liter water tanks that ANERA has placed in communities throughout Gaza.

Bill Corcoran visits one of the 87 2,500-liter water tanks that ANERA has placed in communities throughout Gaza.

Nahed helps a young girl in Khan Younis with the bottles she just filled at a water tanker ANERA brought to her community during the bombings.

Saluting ANERA’s Gaza Staff

September 9th, 2014 by ANERA

ANERA’s Gaza office is made up of seasoned education, health and development professionals. For 51 days in July and August, they – like everyone else in Gaza – feared for their lives as bombs rained down on their tiny strip of land. No one felt safe. And yet, despite the bombs and the fear, ANERA’s staff set aside their professional duties and responded to the crisis in whatever way they could be most useful. They took on a variety of emergency relief roles because they wanted to help the neediest in the devastated communities around them.

With the ceasefire, the full scope of what needs to be done becomes clearer every day. ANERA’s staff is still distributing relief items like water, food, hygiene kits and more. But they have also resumed their professional roles, doing damage assessments and talking to families who have been displaced to see what more is needed for long-term rebuilding.

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Abeer Aqeel at her desk in the ANERA Gaza office.
Ahmad Al-Najjar, ANERA's Gaza in-kind program coordinator, sets up a water tank in the Khan Younis area of Khoza’a.
Ashraf El-Shobaki, ANERA's Infrastructure Coordinator in Gaza
Dema El-Tabba' sits at her desk in the ANERA's office in Gaza.
Faisal stands in front of a fuel tank that ANERA has filled at a desalination facility in Gaza.
Islam Muhanna
Marwa Sbaih
Mohammed Al Ghussein (center) stands with ANERA President Bill Corcoran in front of one of 87 water tanks ANERA has set up across Gaza.
Mohammad is a freelance photojournalist who began taking photos of ANERA’s work during the war in the earliest days of our response.
Mohammad unloads a large shipment of donated medicines, delivering them to a Gaza City hospital.
ANERA's Gaza pharmacist and warehouse manager, Mostafa Al Ghosain, delivers 5,500 vials of life-saving antibiotics to Gaza's largest surgical hospital.
Mousa Shawwa
Nahed helps a young girl in Khan Younis with the bottles she just filled at a water tanker ANERA brought to her community during the bombings.
Rania at a church in Gaza City where ANERA distributed food parcels to displaced families
Sabah Al-Barakoni, ANERA's Gaza Office Manager
Sami Mater, ANERA project engineer, delivers water to displaced children in Jabalia in northern Gaza.

Abeer Aqeel, Office Engineer, PCID

Assisting in the rapid response action plans for USAID’s Palestinian Community Infrastructure Development Program, Abeer handles the paperwork that maintains a steady supply of bottled water, hygiene kits and water tankers to UNRWA shelters as well as fuel deliveries to water facilities. She keeps up-to-date with community needs in order to ensure the flow of relief aid for displaced families while working with the other ANERA engineers to help rebuild Gaza.

Ahmad Al-Najjar, In-Kind Program Coordinator

In mid-July, as more and more people were wounded and medical facilities were overstretched, Ahmad helped process and deliver medicines to Gaza City's major surgical hospital. He also took on a role outside of his usual duties when he became the "water man" in his hometown of Khan Younis. He situated large water tanks across hard-hit communities and set up a system to ensure that water tankers come every day to fill them up. Now, Ahmad returns to his duties as in-kind coordinator to help clinics and hospitals reequip themselves with medicines and other depleted health care supplies.

Ashraf El-Shobaki, Infrastructure Coordinator for PCID

In the midst of and after the bombardment of Gaza, Ashraf actively coordinated the safe passage of dozens of trucks loaded with hygiene kits and bottled water, brought in from the West Bank and purchased with USAID funds through the Palestinian Community Infrastructure Development Program. Thousands of families at UN shelters received the much-needed relief. Ashraf also coordinated the delivery of much-needed fuel to desalination and sewage treatment plants. He continues in both of those roles while doing damage assessments for future infrastructure rebuilding activities.

Dema El-Tabba’, Administrative Assistant

One of Dema's primary roles is to answer the phone in the ANERA office. As peace has returned to Gaza and the office has opened up again, more and more calls are coming in from displaced people and partner organizations who need help. Many are desperate and despondent, but Dema's soothing demeanor calms them and she is able help by directing all who need assistance to the appropriate person in the office who can respond.

Faisal Abu Shahla, Gaza Area Manager for PCID

As soon as ANERA got funding from USAID for water and hygiene kit deliveries, Faisal has worked to ensure that relief trucks get into Gaza safely. Simultaneously, he has been able to rapidly respond by buying water and hygiene kits from local Gaza suppliers. Faisal also coordinates delivery of fuel for water desalination plants and water pumping facilities to keep them running so thousands of families have drinking water. On his damage assessment visits, he and the other engineers have been shocked by the scale of the destruction of homes, roads, schools, businesses and hospitals. The Palestinian Community Infrastructure Development Program team of engineers will do their best to respond, given the restrictions on building supply imports.

Islam Muhanna, Agronomist

Islam was on maternity leave when the bombs started falling in July. With each new image of a child killed, she feared terribly for the safety of her newborn baby. But she took heart as she stayed in touch with ANERA staff and learned they were all okay. She also saw ANERA out in her own community distributing water and hygiene kits at nearby shelters. Now that she's back at the office she is confronting a lot of challenges to the agricultural sector, which took a huge beating in the bombings. She'll be helping to restore productivity to small home gardens and larger farms so markets can restock the fresh fruits and vegetables that so are vital to the good health of families.

Marwa Sbaih, Intern, Early Childhood Development Program

During the war Marwa stayed in contact with teachers and principals at ANERA's extensive network of preschools, especially those located in marginalized areas so near to the bombings. When the ceasefire took effect, Marwa immediately got to work with ANERA's early childhood development team, documenting the damage to preschools across Gaza. The team's priority is to try and get as many children back to school as soon as possible.

Mohammed Al Ghussein, Project Officer, Early Childhood Development Program

Mohammad (center in photo) volunteered often during the war to go out onto the streets to help his community. He went to ANERA's warehouse and to shelters for the displaced, helping to process food, medicine, water and hygiene deliveries and distributing them to thousands of people in dire situations. Mohammad had an opportunity to leave Gaza as the bombs started falling but he chose to stay and be there for his people during their time of need. Holding a PhD in Early Childhood Development, Mohammad is currently doing damage assessments at more than 150 preschools as the school year begins. After 51 days of bombing, a great many schools need work to be readied for the children's return.

Mohammad Zanoon, Photographer

Mohammad is a freelance photojournalist who began taking photos of ANERA’s work during the war in the earliest days of our response. His images also captured the horrors of the war through poignant portraits of people and landscapes of rubble and smoke. Mohammad will continue working with ANERA in the upcoming months to tell the story of Gaza’s path to recovery.

Mohammed Abu Jahal, Warehouse Assistant

From the earliest days of the war, Mohammed came out to ANERA's Gaza City warehouse many times to process large shipments of medicines and health care supplies. He and other ANERA emergency response staff worked hard to quickly get these vital supplies ready for pick-up, as health care workers were scrambling to treat the huge number of wounded who needed care. With many more such shipments expected in the warehouse soon, Mohammed will continue to work efficiently to get things in and out the door.

Mostafa Al Ghosain, In-Kind Manager

From the earliest days of the bombings, Mostafa was at the ANERA warehouse in Gaza City receiving 3 large shipments of donated medicines and medical supplies. These came in hundreds of boxes which had to be inventoried and repackaged for different hospitals, according to their needs. Mostafa and other staff made sure that the largest surgical hospital, Al Shifa, and 6 other local health partners got the medicines and supplies they urgently needed as they responded to the influx of wounded. He also delivered locally-purchased surgical antibiotics, anesthetics and anti-coagulants that were completely depleted at Al Shifa Hospital. ANERA is expecting many more shipments of medical supplies in the upcoming months and Mostafa and his team will ensure they get to the clinics and hospitals most in need.

Mousa Shawwa, Support Services

Mousa came out during the war to help ANERA's emergency team in distributing water and hygiene kits for displaced families at UNRWA shelters. He also worked to get the best prices for procurement of food parcels. Because of his efforts, ANERA was able to purchase thousands of good quality food parcels, which were distributed to displaced families. Mousa is a kind of jack-of-all-trades in the Gaza office and will continue to provide a myriad of support services to our relief and development programs as Gaza rebuilds.

Nahed Al-Wehaidi, ANERA Gaza Director

As head of the Gaza office, Nahed was the main coordinator of all of ANERA's relief activities during the war. He also personally went to many sites to help process medicine deliveries for hospitals and distribute water and food to displaced families. Nahed liaised on a daily basis with upper-level staff in Washington and Jerusalem to ensure that vital information was flowing freely back and forth globally. Moving forward, Nahed will continue to coordinate ANERA's relief work while overseeing all efforts to rebuild and repair infrastructure, as building materials become available.

Rania Elhilou, Communications Officer

Nearly every day for 51 days Rania wrote a journal entry for anera.org to share with ANERA's community the horrors she was suffering as bombs rained down all around her. Her story echoed hundreds of thousands who lived in fear of dying every day. Now that the ceasefire is in effect, Rania is busily writing stories, reaching out to media, getting pictures and collecting data from ANERA's response throughout Gaza.

Sabah Al-Barakoni, Gaza Office Manager

When bombs were falling ANERA's top priority was safety of staff, so Sabah and the Gaza director asked them to stay indoors. Despite terrible communication network problems, Sabah stayed in daily contact with all of ANERA's Gaza staff to make sure that they and their families were safe. When there were ceasefires or gaps in the bombings, she coordinated with staff to come into the office or to go to sites where ANERA's relief work was happening. Going forward, Sabah will continue to support the Gaza team with all of the behind-the-scenes logistical, financial and administrative work necessary to rebuild in Gaza.

Sami Matar, Project Engineer, Early Childhood Development Program

During the war Sami and his family were forced to evacuate their home, but he managed to help deliver food and hygiene kits as well as to set up water storage tanks for displaced families in all of Gaza, from the south to the north. Since the ceasefire, Sami has begun assessing damage to the water and sewage networks that ANERA can help repair. As a member of ANERA’s early childhood development team, he is also visiting preschools that ANERA had built or renovated in the past in order to prioritize their repairs moving forward. Some 60% of our participant preschools have sustained damage.

Abeer Aqeel, Office Engineer, PCID thumbnail
Ahmad Al-Najjar, In-Kind Program Coordinator thumbnail
Ashraf El-Shobaki, Infrastructure Coordinator for PCID thumbnail
Dema El-Tabba’, Administrative Assistant thumbnail
Faisal Abu Shahla, Gaza Area Manager for PCID thumbnail
Islam Muhanna, Agronomist thumbnail
Marwa Sbaih, Intern, Early Childhood Development Program thumbnail
Mohammed Al Ghussein, Project Officer, Early Childhood Development Program thumbnail
Mohammad Zanoon, Photographer thumbnail
Mohammed Abu Jahal, Warehouse Assistant thumbnail
Mostafa Al Ghosain, In-Kind Manager thumbnail
Mousa Shawwa, Support Services thumbnail
Nahed Al-Wehaidi, ANERA Gaza Director thumbnail
Rania Elhilou, Communications Officer thumbnail
Sabah Al-Barakoni, Gaza Office Manager thumbnail
Sami Matar, Project Engineer, Early Childhood Development Program thumbnail
Gaza woman welcomes the dignity kits that provide personal hygiene supplies and other essential items.

Gaza Emergency Aid Includes Dignity Kits

September 2nd, 2014 by lkassman

A mother’s first thought when forced to flee her home is for the safety of her children. The last person she thinks about is herself. “We left when everybody else left the city in Khan Younis,” says Awatef Abu Daqa. “We escaped with fear and nothing else.” Most of the women say they end up with nothing but the clothes they were wearing when they fled.

With the help of five local partners, ANERA distributed 1,500 dignity kits to displaced women all around Gaza.

Once in temporary shelters, many women realize they need personal hygiene items but are too shy or embarrassed to ask. The dignity kits are a welcome response to the personal needs of displaced women. The emergency aid kits contain toothbrush, toothpaste, towels, sanitary pads, spray, shampoo, two prayer dresses,  underwear and soap.

Huda and one of her children pick up ANERA's dignity kit to take back to their temporary shelter.

Huda and her son picking up a dignity kit.

Huda Abu Daqaa is from Khan Younis. She has three children, aged four, six and nine months. ”We ran into the street with the three kids. We only packed a small bag as we rushed out of our home. We walked and walked and finally found one food truck picked us up and took us to a quieter place.” Huda says all she took was milk and some diapers.”

She also brought her prayer dress but many women did not. So they were delighted to see the dignity kits included the two piece garment. “It is easy to wear and easy to escape with,” said Huda. Another woman nearby added that it made it more dignified for her to discreetly breastfeed her baby in the crowded temporary shelters.

At  the entrance of one of ANERA’s local partner organizations in Gaza City, a group of women waited for a ride after they received their dignity kits. Despite their pale, sad faces and signs of exhaustion accumulated during more than six weeks of bombings, they all shared a sense of relief and appreciation for the aid packages that respond to their personal needs.

Gaza woman receives one of ANERA's dignity kits as part of our Gaza emergency aid efforts.

ANERA staffer Mohammad Al Ghossein hands out of ANERA’s dignity kits as part of our Gaza emergency aid efforts.

Mohammad graduates from ANERA's vocational training program in Lebanon's Palestinian camps.

Vocational Training Opens Opportunities in Lebanon

September 1st, 2014 by lkassman

Mohammad Ahmad Al Hamad readily admits his education did not start off well. He twice failed his baccalaureate exams in high school. “I never liked theoretical and academic learning.” He explains that formal education was just not a good fit. But, he knew that as a young Palestinian refugee in Lebanon, he would have a hard time finding a job without a diploma.

ANERA’s  scholarship fund helps 19 Palestinian youth in Lebanon camps access vocational training.

Mohammad says it was not a question of studying but more what and how. “I’ve always wanted to study electronics.” he says. But taking a specialized course would cost money that he and his parents did not have. When his aunt told him about ANERA’s scholarship program for vocational training, he decided it was an opportunity he could not pass.

Mohammad shows his diploma from ANERA's vocational training program for Palestinian youth in Lebanon camps.

Mohammad shows off his diploma.

In 2012, Mohammad received a scholarship from ANERA and was accepted in the vocational program to study electronics at Hadi Abd El-Debs Institute in Beirut. He lived with his family in Wadi Zeine gathering, in southern Lebanon and commuted 45 minutes every morning to Beirut. “The training was really good,” he says, “and all the students there are like brothers to me now.”

For his final project, he created a three-dimensional cube, which he says became one of the most important projects through the year and, he adds “even the Institute’s director realized it.”

After two years, Mohammad graduated with a special mention for his excellent grades. He readily admits his secret was studying something he loves. “The studies were very easy for me because electronics is my passion.”

Mohammad’s skills did not go unnoticed by his professor. At the end of the year Mohammad was offered a summer job at the institute.

Vocational training graduate Mohammad in Lebanon with his proud mother

Mohammad with his proud mother at graduation.

Tears of pride filled his mother’s eyes when she watched her son graduate. He is the only one of her six children who has continued his studies and has been able to pursue a path he loves. “I remember when he was a child I used to find him in the basement putting the family radio into pieces and putting it back together again. Mohammad has always loved working with his hands.”

Mohammad is confident about his future. “Now, I would love to continue my studies and get a higher degree in electronics,” he says. “Maybe I will even be able to study for a MA abroad.”

But first, Mohammad says his goal is to find a job to help his family, which will probably mean continuing his studies at night school.

ANERA’s scholarship program is helping 18 other Palestinian youth like Mohammad to pursue vocational training that gives them the skills they need to compete in the job market.