This winter, Anera distributed 461 blankets to poor families in the Gaza village of Um Al Nasser.
Blankets for the Village of Um Al Nasser
The Bedouin village of Um Al Nasser lies in far northern Gaza, between Beit Lahia to its south and the restricted access zone along the barrier fence with Israel. Residents describe Um Al Nasser as a poor, marginalized community. The village has made international headline news more than once for enduring harsh weather and emergencies.
Villagers are cut off from essential municipal services and often neglected. Nearly half of the homes are little more than primitive huts, walled with simple galvanized steel sheets. Rooftops are also metal and the floors are sand. Typically these structures house whole extended families.
The village is plagued by deep poverty. “Unemployment is widespread,” says Ali, a resident of Um Al Nasser and father of five children. “Most people around here rely on farming and raising livestock for income,” he says.
“I have been living in this community since 1995, when the village was first established. It has always been difficult. But in the old days, when borders were open, I used to have a steady job to provide for the family.”
His wife Samiya says, “Children here often come down with colds and the flu because they can’t stay warm.” Winter can be a bleak season for underprivileged families.
The dropping temperatures warn that winter is not far off. Ensuring residents have adequate bedding for warmth is paramount.
Saleh, another father in the village, points out the serious deficiencies of his house for winter conditions. “When it rained last week, the water leaked inside. Drops of water woke the children up at night,” he said.
Samiya is realistic about the needs in Um Al Nasser: “Our homes are not prepared for winter. A blanket isn’t going to change everything." “But,” she says, receiving blankets at no cost “is a huge relief during these hard times, especially when we have to make a tough choices between food and winter items.”
This winter, Anera distributed 461 blankets to poor families in the village of Um Al Nasser. Anera distributes the blankets following criteria that considers the size of each selected family.