Warm Clothes for Gaza Flood Victims
Five-year-old Majed could hardly contain his glee when he tried on the warm jacket he received during ANERA’s distribution of clothing appropriate for cold weather. “It makes me warm. I’m going to wear it to school tomorrow.”
1,400+ winter clothes kits were delivered to Gaza children 5 to 12
Jackets, along with sweaters, hats, gloves, socks and woolen neck scarves have been distributed to Gaza families who had to evacuate their homes during the December floods. UMCOR funded this post-disaster program, though which ANERA was able to distribute warm clothing to more than 1,400 children, aged 5 to 12.
Thousands of Gaza families fled their homes with little more than the clothes they were wearing. When they returned home they discovered that most of their belongings had been ruined. In its initial response, ANERA also delivered more than 500 cleaning and hygiene kits for flood victims.
Reem El Dadah remembers the disaster she encountered when returning home. “We came home to see our furniture, closets and other belongings damaged and unusable,” said the mother of three. “It was depressing to see the damaged clothes and warped furniture. There was nothing we could do. The storm was too powerful.”
She moved her son, Majed, to another preschool after his preschool was flooded and all the books ruined. “Water was penetrating through the cracks in the walls. We tried to put some heavy rocks on the plastic rooftop to keep it from blowing off during the storm, but it didn’t work.”
Reem’s house still smells like mold and mildew. She welcomes the winter clothing gift as a blessing. “The winter clothes will keep my children warm. Before receiving these clothes, we were wrapping them in donated blankets that we received in order to keep them warm. Now they can go to school warm and dry, with high quality jackets with wool lining.”
Families Welcome Warm Clothes
Tareq Hothot, father of five, recalls how sewage mixed with the flood waters, forcing them to take shelter in a nearby school for two weeks and then bounce around different relatives’ homes until their home was livable again.
When they received the winter clothes kit, Tareq and his family had just returned home. Tareq was impressed by the high quality of the children’s clothing in the kit. “We left with nothing,” he remembers. “My brothers and I secured our wives and children at a local school and then returned to our home to and slept on our metal roof to try to save what we could from the filthy waters.”
As he tells this story, his young son Wadee’ proudly spelled the Arabic word for “jacket” but decided it was easier to spell “hat.”
At ANERA’s designated distribution site, teams of two helped match the children’s size and age to make sure the clothes fit. The head of the Friends of the Kind Hearted Society, a local organization that distributed the clothing kits in collaboration with ANERA, says the clothes are invaluable to keeping the children dry and warm.