CAFOD (Catholic Association For Overseas Development) have committed £50,000 to partners in Gaza so that they can scale up their response to the spiralling humanitarian crisis. Matthew McGarry, who works with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), describes the deteriorating situation: “There are entire neighbourhoods that have been basically destroyed. There are more than 240,000 people displaced with many more currently on the move. There are many others who are taking shelter either out in the open, or with relatives or in damaged buildings.”
CAFOD partners CRS and Caritas Jerusalem are working around the clock to reach vulnerable families, but the ongoing intensive airstrikes make it extremely difficult and dangerous to deliver aid. Despite the risks, they are on the ground with Gazan communities doing what they can.
CRS have mobilised their teams across Gaza city and Rafah – where homes have been totally destroyed – providing basic household items. Caritas Jerusalem’s medical centre and mobile clinic in Gaza city and Al Shatti refugee camp have been operating for the last few days, but are in urgent need of medical supplies and medicines.
Father Raed Abusahlia, director of Caritas Jerusalem said: “Most of the victims are children, women and old people.
“The needs of Gazans in this conflict are increasing day by day; we see that damage and destruction are everywhere in the Gaza Strip. Our urgent intervention is needed in this humanitarian crisis.”
The ferocious and relentless bombardment by the Israeli military on Gaza has left more than 1,200 people dead and over 6,000 injured, among them many women and children. More than 250,000 people have now been forced from their homes, fleeing in search of safety in one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
Mary Lucas, CAFOD’s Country Representative for the Middle East, said: “The loss of every human being in this terrible conflict is tragic. We call on the UK government and the international community to push hard for an immediate ceasefire.
“It is clear that the status quo is no longer sustainable. The only way out of the cycle of violence is to address the root causes of the conflict: there needs to be an end to the occupation of Palestinian territory, to the building of settlements and to the closure of Gaza.”