Rebuilding Jenin: An Update
Yesterday, on July 18, I visited and spent the day in Jenin refugee camp. Entering the camp was like stepping into a colorless world. It’s as if someone took a giant paintbrush and painted everything gray. A member of the popular committee told me “it feels like we were hit by an earthquake.”
For the last several months, Israeli military raids in the Jenin refugee camp have threatened the lives and livelihoods of Palestinians, leaving many families now twice displaced. The raid in the first days of July left about $15 million worth of damage. It killed 12 Palestinians and injured 143 more. Some 500 families were displaced during the violence. They sought shelter in churches, mosques and community centers as the violence made homes unlivable and severely damaged water and electricity networks. Forty-one families remain without homes.
The reality is that the raids worsened existing issues in the Jenin camp. Remember, Palestinian refugee camps were originally built to be temporary. Over the course of 70+ years, they have become concrete jungles with eroding infrastructure and few resources to improve conditions.
While the recent raid has ended, there is no foreseeable end to the violence Palestinians are enduring in the West Bank.
But my visit gave me hope. When I entered the local Popular Committee Center, it was bustling with life. I wondered if it was normal for the center to be this busy, and I learned that residents always come together at the center to receive and provide care. Center members told me that they have identified many of the immediate and long-term needs in their community. Now, they require the resources and support to adequately address these needs.
What Anera is Doing Now in Jenin
Thanks to Anera supporters, our emergency response team sprung into action quickly and distributed vital medicines to Jenin hospitals in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Now, we’re locally procuring healthcare supplies like gauze and oxygen cannulas, essential emergency room supplies for Jenin Hospital, and ambulance equipment for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. We are also putting together dignity kits, hygiene kits and children’s play packs to distribute directly to affected communities.
Please know that your support has been crucial in addressing the urgent needs in Jenin.
A Longer-term Response in Jenin
I also want to urge you to keep support coming after this immediate emergency subsides. You have an opportunity to address both the acute crisis and the long-term efforts being led by Palestinians to rebuild their community.
Anera built up, over many decades, a network of Palestinian organizations on the ground that know the needs of their own communities. They are doers with the skills and knowledge required to address complex issues. They, like Anera’s staff in Palestine, remain steadfast in the face of the adversities our volatile environment throws at us.
There are so many needs to address in Jenin, from rebuilding a damaged water network that serves a whole neighborhood to making repairs to a single family’s home. A generator at the Jenin Hospital was shot up and doesn’t work well anymore. They could use a new one. Families have lost electronics and other possessions. The list goes on and on.
Please make a donation to support Jenin. I’m so proud to be part of this great Anera community. We’re not bureaucratic so we can move quickly. We have support within communities. And we rely on the amazing talent that lives in Jenin, a place where we have long delivered impactful programs.
And please also share this with others. There is much to be done!
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