Thursday June 6, 2024

Struggling civilians in Gaza once more face the horror of major airstrikes, with a rapidly rising death toll and hundreds of thousands of people displaced with nowhere safe to go.

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What is happening in Gaza right now?

As conditions rapidly deteriorate amid this latest escalation in hostilities, the strikes are thought to have destroyed tens of thousands of homes. 4 in 5 people have had to flee their homes, leaving many forced to seek shelter in dozens of schools and hospitals. There is an urgent need for food and other basic survival items.

At least 36,050 Palestinians have been killed and more than 81,026 injured. This number is expected to increase rapidly as airstrikes continue. Nearly 50% of deaths are children.

The tightening of Israel’s siege of Gaza – cutting off supplies of food, medicine, fuel, and aid – represents collective punishment of all 2.2 million people living in Gaza, around half of whom are children. People are starving to death, mass famine is imminent and more than 1 million people are now living in catastrophic food insecurity, meaning a high risk of death.  

Islamic Relief is on the ground

As conditions rapidly deteriorate amid this latest escalation in hostilities, Islamic Relief remains steadfast in our determination to assist families in Gaza. Working closely with our local partners, we are distributing essential items to affected families.

Since October 2023, we have provided over £15 million worth of aid and delivered over 16.6 million hot meals in Gaza.

We have been providing humanitarian relief in Palestine since 1997, serving as a lifeline for communities struggling with the devastating effects of occupation, blockade and recurring conflict. With your support, Islamic Relief will remain a lifeline for families in Gaza.

We are working with UN agencies such as the World Food Programme, who are bringing in some food via the Kerem Shalom crossing which we then distribute. Through a number of additional trucks, we have also been able to bring in and deliver vital hygiene, medical and personal items. This included warm winter clothing, feminine hygiene products and children’s nappies. 

Items such as blankets and hygiene kits have been brought in through the Rafah crossing, and we are constantly trying to get more in.  

Despite the huge challenges, our team in Gaza and our local partners are delivering aid every day. So far, we’ve cooked over 16.6 million ready-to-eat meals for displaced families in the overcrowded shelters.  

Attacked, starved and displaced: 8 months of suffering in Gaza

Since an unprecedented escalation began on October 7, life in Gaza has become almost unliveable. Families have been driven from their homes with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Displaced and starving as famine looms, parents are faced with the impossible task of keeping their children safe and fed amid this crisis.

For some of these children, school has become a distant memory, as so many school buildings have been destroyed or converted into desperately needed shelters.

Amid this upheaval, children like Mariam feel their youth slipping away. “I feel like I’ve aged years beyond my actual age,” the 10-year-old says.

My family and I are living through the worst days of fear, terror, insecurity, cold, hunger and thirst. We never imagined we would experience such days. We have been deprived of our entire childhood and our right to live a safe life.

As more than 1 million people were ordered to flee their homes in the first weeks of the crisis, Hanaa, Mariam’s mother, says she resisted leaving her house for just over a month, sheltering there with her 4 children.

We were sleeping under Allah’s protection when suddenly a missile fell into our living room. Thankfully, it did not explode. We rushed out in the middle of the night and spent the entire night on the street amid cold, fear, shelling, and missiles above our heads. We didn’t know where to go.

Hanaa’s family is one of more than 10,000 in Gaza now supported by Islamic Relief’s Orphan Sponsorship Programme, which we have expanded in Gaza since October to help meet families’ desperate needs. The monthly stipend, which once covered education and healthcare costs, is now a vital lifeline for the family. When the stipend arrived, Hanaa says she cried tears of joy.

I hurried to withdraw the money and went straight to the market. I bought 3 blankets, flour, some vegetables, and canned food to feed my children. Since I couldn’t find clothes for my daughter Mariam, who was very sick and needed warmth, I bought her a coat.

Mariam said while sharing her feelings after seeing her mother come back home with food,

I almost flew with joy when my mother came back carrying flour, food and canned food for us. I had been craving them for months and thought we might never eat them again. I was so happy with the new coat; I quickly put it on and prayed fervently to Allah to reward the sponsor who did not forget us in these difficult circumstances. 

Islamic Relief’s Orphan Sponsorship Programme is vital for families in Gaza, never more so than now. The regular stipend is helping families like Mariam and Hanaa’s to keep warm and fed amid displacement and disaster.
The dangerous situation on the ground since October 7 has forced Islamic Relief to suspend our long-term programming, with the exception of the Orphan Sponsorship Programme. Instead, our staff and partners on the ground have scaled up our emergency response.

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