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.”
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.”
Gaza Families Welcome Warm Clothes
Tareq Hothot, father of five, recalls that the "sewage mixed with the flood waters, and forced to get shelter in a close-by school for two weeks. Then we had to move around to different relatives’ houses until our home was livable again."
When Tareq's family received the winter clothes kit, they had just returned home. Tareq was impressed by the high quality of the children’s clothing in the kit. “We tried to save what we could from the filthy waters. but pretty much we were left with nothing."
At ANERA’s designated distribution site, teams of two helped match the sizes and ages to make sure the clothes fit all 1,400 children.