Food aid brings brief relief to displaced residents in Gaza

More than 485,000 people have been displaced in Gaza. Many of them are living with extended family in excruciatingly cramped conditions, with few to no resources—no food, no water. 

Although World Vision has been forced to officially suspend operations because of the security situation, the organization has been reaching out and supporting families in need as the situation allows—primarily during ceasefires.

Caring for children during the conflict

During one such distribution, Alex Snary, Director of World Vision's operations in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza met Manal Al Masry and her extended family; one of the many families displaced by the destruction of Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza.

Like many, their situation is dire. They fled after their home was destroyed by artillery fire, killing at least 18 family members; many others are still missing or unaccounted for.

Cramped conditions

For the past 20 days, 32 people, 16 of them children, have been living in one tiny room. With stifling heat, no water for bathing and such cramped conditions, hunger is not their only concern. Two of the children are sick with fever and diarrhea and several others have severe skin rashes because of the lack of hygiene facilities.

At night, the children scream and cry out when they hear the bombing. Day after day they are trapped in this small room, as it is too dangerous to go outside and play.

Three of the children had been receiving psychosocial care from World Vision in response to the last Gaza war, in 2012. This time the trauma they are experiencing is much worse.

Reham, 10, talks about the skills they learned for dealing with the trauma and how she feels less stressed when they play the 'games' (stress relieving techniques) taught to them by their counselor.

World Vision has distributed 800 food parcels to date. 

Ibrahim, 13, proudly explains how he learned to evacuate the house and where to hide when under shelling at World Vision's Disaster Resilience training.

Before receiving food aid from World Vision, they were buying water and food daily, using money borrowed from neighbours, but this was not enough to meet even their basic needs. World Vision has distributed 800 food kits to date. More distributions are planned as the conflict situation allows. 

The end of the conflict will be just the beginning

The Israeli Army recently announced that the residents can return to Beit Hanoun. But, like thousands of others, they have no home to return to.

World Vision continues to walk along side these children helping them to survive this latest war in Gaza. But only a permanent, long-term solution that ends the blockade will give them the chance they need to live normal lives.