A difficult start to Ramadan in Gaza
May 6, 2019 | Gaza City Life resumed an appearance of normality today in Gaza as Ramadan begins and a ceasefire announced in the early morning hours ends a weekend of violence.
After suffering through two nights of bombing, water delivery trucks and fruit vendors with donkey carts of oranges returned to the streets of Gaza this Monday morning, announcing their wares over megaphones. People are venturing outside again, and those who can afford to are stocking up on groceries to prepare Ramadan meals. Schools will reopen tomorrow. Given the frequency of conflict, residents of Gaza have little choice but to quickly resume living despite the violence.
Rania Elhelo, Anera’s communications officer in Gaza, said this morning,
“I am so glad that Anera is distributing food packages for Ramadan again. Gaza families are grateful to get them always, but this year is particularly bad, as the economy has taken a big hit with the cuts to USAID and UNRWA. It feels more critical than ever.”
Anera’s already-planned Ramadan food packages distribution this year comes at a critical time. The destruction wrought in Gaza in the last few days – 25 reported fatalities, 154 injuries, some 600 housing units and over 300 buildings damaged or destroyed – comes on top of worsening economic deprivation that leaves the poorest families in great need of assistance to ensure that there is food on the table this Ramadan.
Anera President Sean Carroll commented,
“Anera was already planning to distribute food packages to more than 1,000 of the neediest families, and continuing our delivery of critical medicines. Now, we are looking for support to increase that response.”
The latest violence comes as Gaza is enduring health care and water and sanitation systems in crisis and one of the world’s highest unemployment rates. Long-term preventative care has also been hit hard by the recent aid cuts to Palestine. Critical health concerns for pre- and post-natal women, mammograms and biopsies are no longer being addressed. Aid cuts are having negative ripple effects across the Gaza economy, with the worst hit being the most vulnerable families already struggling to afford even basic needs.
As in past Ramadan seasons, this year Anera is providing locally-purchased nutritious food packages and medical supplies to families in need in Lebanon and Gaza. The food packages include vital items for iftar and suhoor meals during Ramadan. Contents include macaroni, rice, lentils, cooking oil, cheese, tomato paste, tahini, dates, jam, beans, chickpeas, juice and tea. The packages will help ensure that families in need have enough to celebrate Ramadan, so they may enjoy a meal with their family and friends after long days of fasting.
Contributing to food and medical assistance programs is one important way that people outside Gaza can show their support. As Amani, a mother and food package recipient, told us last year, “In the month of Ramadan, I am thankful for all Anera’s supporters and I pray for all those who never forget Gaza.”
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Officer, Anera
For over 50 years, Anera has helped refugees and others hurt by conflicts in the Middle East live with dignity and purpose. Anera, which has no political or religious affiliation, works on the ground with partners in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Lebanon, and Jordan. We mobilize resources for immediate humanitarian relief and for sustainable health, education, and economic development efforts. Our staff are from the communities they serve, navigating the politics that constrict progress to get help where it’s needed most. In this way, Anera has grown to deliver more than $65 million in programming annually. We will keep building better lives until hope finds its way in the Middle East.