An Update on Anera’s Staff in Gaza
As Anera’s country director in Palestine, I would like to share an update on our staff’s welfare in Gaza. Our colleagues have faced unprecedented challenges over the last three months. When I report on our staff, I always say that they’re all accounted for. They’re all safe and physically unharmed. But they are far from okay.
One striking observation is the toll this crisis has taken on the physical well-being of our Gaza team. The tremendous weight loss and accelerated aging experienced by our staff underscore the profound difficulties they encounter daily, as they do their best to provide vital aid in impossible circumstances.
The Gaza staff are contacted almost non-stop by people begging for support. People call or approach them saying they have heard Anera has this or that item they desperately need. Every single one of our colleagues in Gaza feels a personal obligation to try to find those people some support. They put that burden on themselves to try to do their best for those who are suffering. And they deliver! It’s amazing what they have been able to accomplish (see our response log).
At the same time, our staff are worried about their own families. They along with their families are displaced themselves. Up until two days ago, our core response staff had a roof over their heads and access to water and other necessities. But they had to leave because stray bullets from nearby troops ripped through the building where they were staying. They had to quickly coordinate an evacuation for everyone in the shelter – some 250 people. They couldn’t find a place right away, so they ended up in tents without blankets or mattresses. The next day, many of them were sick with colds and flus.
We think of our amazing team in Gaza as heroes, given everything they make happen despite all of the odds. But heroizing them risks robbing them of their ability to be vulnerable. Some of the hardest conversations I have with the team is when I let them know that it’s okay to be vulnerable or scared or worried. When they hear that, their voices crack and you can tell that they’re breaking down on the other side of the line.
Our Gaza staff are humans being pushed to the brink every day. They are the face and the heart, the soul of Anera! Let us hope they and their beloved Gaza will get to a place of peace and be able to rebuild their lives soon.
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