Posted by AAI on December 31, 2008 in News Clips

Words of hope from Gaza: “Be creative to defeat that sense of helplessness”

Listen to this conversation between AAI leadership and ANERA in its entirety (the conversation begins at minute 6:30 on the recording) – click here.

AAI leaders spoke to Salah Sakka, the ANERA director in Gaza, and Bill Corcoran, President of ANERA. Mr. Sakka is actually in Gaza and gave us an eye-witness account of conditions there, what’s working, and what we can do to help.

In general, the U.N. humanitarian groups are best able to function in Gaza—some U.N. trucks have managed to enter the Strip. United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), and the Palestine Red Crescent Society have been successful in getting medicine into Gaza during this crisis. In addition, the United Palestinian Appeal (UPA) has 58 trained volunteers working in Gaza, especially in Jabaliya and Beit Hanoun.

Mr. Sakka tells us that the international arm of the Red Cross (of which Palestine Red Crescent is a part) is operating in Gaza. The American Red Cross is coordinating with the International Committee of the Red Cross; if you know of someone who is trying to locate family in Gaza, try contacting them. To contact the Red Crescent in Jerusalem, call 972 73 263 0020 or 0021. The phone number for the Palestine Red Crescent is 972 2 240-6515.

If you are interested in working on a coordinated drive to collect blood to donate to Gaza through the Red Cross, contact Linda Mansour at lindamansour@aol.com to enquire.

Mr. Sakka reported that electricity was only on four to five hours a day, from 10 p.m. to midnight, mostly. Garbage is accumulating, as it is dangerous for people to move about outside, so normal services, such as they are, have been disrupted. A shortage of fuel is affecting Gaza residents’ ability to access fresh water, as without fuel to work the water wheels, there is no water. Additionally, the lack of fuel means those homes with generators cannot run them. On an even more basic level, residents need access to boards and new glass, etc., as homes not directly hit by Israeli bombings still suffer from blown out windows, and are open to the elements as a result.

What ANERA wanted to make clear to all of us is that we must not despair. We must not lose hope. Some trickle of aid is getting into Gaza, and there are things we can do to help today. Don’t wait for a cease-fire.

Read AAI’s talking points and click here to send letters to your members of Congress today.

Read AAI’s statement on Gaza, and get links to organizations offering aid to the Palestinians—go now.


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