What does the humanitarian situation of Palestinians look like? How can we help them?

The humanitarian situation of Palestinians is deteriorating with every day. However, everyone of us can help. The Polish Center for International Aid (PCPM) started a fundraising campaign thanks to which you can help Palestinians get immediate medical assistance 

What does the current situation in the Gaza Strip look like?

Right now, 212 people have been reported dead, including 61 children. At least 1500 Palestinians have been injured (as at 18 May, at 2 pm). The UN states that about 58 000 Palestinians have been internally displaced within a week from the beginning of Israel’s bombardment. Internal migrants are looking for shelter in UNRWA schools along the whole coast. This number includes at least 2500 people whose houses have been completely destroyed in Israel’s bombardment.

According to the assessment of The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in 2019 75% of Gaza’s population (1,6 million people) depended on food supply and one third of the basic medication was unavailable. Electrical energy and drinking water are scarce. During this armed conflict, the situation is drastically deteriorating.

It is worth noticing that Palestinians are still struggling with the COVID pandemic. The Director-General of the World Health Organization said on Monday that “testing and COVID vaccinations have been seriously endangered”. He also added that “it is a danger to the health of the whole world”. The Palestine Liberation Organization informed that the only laboratory in Gaza is not able to work after Israel’s air raids.

Only after a week of bombardments did Israel decide to open a humanitarian corridor. “We are very happy about Israeli authorities opening Karam Abu Salem crossing for the transport of essential humanitarian aid” said Jens Laerke, the spokesperson for the humanitarian UN agency OCHA. He added that the crossing in Erez should be opened as well.

Yesterday, while coordinating the transport of humanitarian aid, the crossing was attacked by mortars. As a result the Israeli authorities decided to close it (as at 19 May, at 1.00 p.m). 

“Our children don’t sleep”

The current escalation of the conflict is a tragedy for many families. Children remain the most vulnerable. Palestinians experience sleep difficulties and regular headaches; trauma and constant stress only worsen their psychological condition. 

“Our children have to be occupied with toys or anything that distracts their attention from the bombardment and fear in which they are living. Now they are talking only about the air raids” says Umm Jamal. Together with her husband and five children she escaped from home. Their neighboring building was hit by an Israeli rocket. They did not have time to take anything with them and now they can’t return home. 

“We gathered together and everyone paid 1 shekel (0,30 dollar) so that we could buy enough water” said Shaher Barda who was forced to escape from home together with his family. They only managed to take their clothes with them.

“We have to unite. But now I only need some blankets for my kids. They couldn’t sleep last night because of the cold” adds Rajai, Shaher’s relative.

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For many Palestinians it is not the first time when they had to escape from war and rely solely on humanitarian aid. “It is already the fourth war during which we have to look for shelter in a school” says Majda Abu Karesh, a mother of seven.

Najwa says that children are preoccupied with the bombardments all the time. Social media play a crucial role in fear intensification. “They follow the news all day, even if we forbid them to” says Najwa. “It is all on Instagram and other social media. Destruction is all that there is” she adds.

Polish Center for International Aid is going to help Palestinian doctors and paramedics – join the fundraising campaign! 

PCPM Foundation is appealing to Polish sponsors for immediate help. The gathered funds will be spent on helping Palestinian doctors and paramedics. Thanks to them, medication, medical equipment and dressings will be bought. Paramedics from the Poland Emergency Medical Team know the reality and structure of the Palestinian emergency service very well. For years they have been holding training courses and providing necessary means for the needy people there. 

Every help, even the smallest, is worth its weight in gold now. 

We asked the PCPM Chief Executive Officer, dr. Wojciech Wilk, what amount of money is needed to help Palestinians:

– Because of the big number of people needing medical care, the amount of money for the help is also significant. For example, the Palestinian Red Crescent is asking for money in the amount of 460 thousand dollars (1,8 million Polish zloty) for the Gaza Strip and of 170 thousand dollars (650 thousand Polish zloty) for the West Bank and East Jerusalem – and this is to buy medication only. The amount of money needed to buy dressings is even higher, especially in the Gaza Strip – comments Wojciech Wilk. 

– We’ve started the fundraising campaign to help paramedics in Palestine, so that they can quickly and effectively protect the health and life of people. Time is the key factor here. And we have little of it – stresses Aleksandra Rutkowska, the spokesperson for the PCPM Foundation. – Thanks to the continuous cooperation with the Palestinian emergency service we can act immediately – she adds. 

You can join the fundraising campaign at pcpm.org.pl/palestyna

Anna Słania – national and international security expert, journalist. Interested in the issues of contemporary armed conflicts, terrorism and humanitarianism in international relations. Works in the field of peace journalism. Member of the Salam Lab team till December 2021.  You can follow Anna on social media. IG: @annaslania, FB: anna.slania4

Translated by Maja Tkocz – English philology student, interested in translation and teaching English to students with special educational needs. In her free time she crochets. Volunteer at the Salam Lab.

  1. Live reports from Palestine and Israel – Al Jazeera
  2. Al Jazeera, Israel kills Islamic Jihad commander, Gaza death toll above 200,
  3. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid – Occupied Palestinian Territory
  4. The Guardian, Our children are getting killed’: the human cost of Israel-Gaza violence,
  5. CNN, We cannot sleep’: Mothers caught in the Israel-Gaza conflict,
  6. Deutsche Welle, Humanitarian crisis in Gaza intensifies under Israeli attack,
  7. Polskie Centrum Pomocy Międzynarodowej, Let’s help Palestinian medics!,
  8. PCPM collection for Palestinian medics

Zdjęcie tytułowe: Romain Guy via flickr.com.

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