Food, Child-friendly Spaces Help Children Recover in Gaza Press Release


World Vision Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza Press Release
November 24, 2012

Food, child-friendly spaces help children recover in Gaza

Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza – World Vision's efforts to help vulnerable families in Gaza recover from the recent conflict got underway today with an initial distribution of 400 food parcels in Beit Lahia in North Gaza.

“This is just the first step in what we expect to be a long recovery for Gaza,” said Alex Snary, National Director for World Vision JWG (Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza). “The recent conflict only exacerbated the difficult conditions already faced by vulnerable children and families in Gaza.”

World Vision is also providing psychosocial support for children affected by the recent violence and devastation through six Child Friendly Spaces located in both North and South Gaza. The centers are staffed by trained social workers and provide a safe friendly environment where children can interact, play and receive psychosocial care to help them begin to recover from their distress.

“Children are by far the most affected and vulnerable group in any conflict, and make up more than half of the population in Gaza,” said Kurian James, World Vision JWG Director of Operations. “Through our work we know many are still dealing with the effects of previous military interventions in Gaza. The recent conflict has created a critical need to support children in Gaza in coming to terms with their experience.”

In addition to helping the children, child friendly spaces also allow parents time to focus on rebuilding their lives and homes in the aftermath of the violence.

World Vision will also begin a programme to assist in the rebuilding of the agricultural sector as well as improving the livelihood opportunities of the most vulnerable families.

“Economic recovery in Gaza is expected to take a long time, particularly if the blockade is not lifted,” said Alex Snary, National Director for World Vision JWG. “We know from our past work in Gaza how difficult it was for many families to earn a living with the restricted flow of goods resulting from the blockade, and the devastation left behind after previous military operations. Children suffer when their families cannot earn enough to meet their basic needs.”

We call on all parties to respect the terms of the ceasefire and asks for an end to the five year military blockade to allow rapid access for humanitarian aid and staff to Gaza to meet immediate needs and enable rapid restoration of health, power and water infrastructure.

“In addition to materials, it is critical that expert humanitarian workers are able to get into Gaza so they can aid with the recovery,” said Antone Azar, Public Engagement Manager for World Vision JWG. “There are huge needs in Gaza that can only be met through the full support and access of the humanitarian community.”

Antone Azar