A Real Humanitarian Crisis!
For more than three weeks now, Gaza's 1.5 million residents have been enduring one of the most difficult times in more than 18 months, since Israel enforced a crippling blockade on the coastal region after Hamas seized the Strip in June 2007.
These difficult times can be observed at many levels, beginning with the ordinary people through the largest international organizations, like the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees or UNRWA.
"It is unprecedented that we ran out of food. Yes, we did for 10 days now", Mr. Ging explained in an earlier interview this Monday, when Israel allowed in some shipments of food, commodities, medicines and fuel to generate electricity. This was the first in three weeks.
The UNRWA has been providing food assistance, medical care, education and sanitation services to Gaza's 700,000 registered refugees for six decades now.
The conditions facing Gaza’s population are truly unprecedented. Hassan Al-Sha'er, who has a car accessories store on the Salah Eldin main road in central Gaza Strip, had to have a late breakfast without any bread.
"My partner toured the town to bring some bread but he did not find any; that’s why, as you see, we had to fill empty stomachs without bread", Hassan said.
Hassan was not the only person without bread, there may very well have been thousands more who found no bread to eat. Mustafa Albanna, owner of the largest bakery in central Gaza Strip, complained to IslamOnline.net about his inability to supply bread for more than three whole days.
"We headed to nearby gas stations to bring in the needed gas to run our bakery, but we could not, because of the lack of gas, so we are forced to stay idle without work," 70-year-old Mustafa said.
The Albana bakery used to produce 12,000 pieces of bread per hour, before the cooking gas was finished about three weeks ago.
To cope with the inability of bakeries to supply them with their children's bread on a regular basis, the people of Gaza have been forced to resort to a very old life-style.
Abu Abdallah Abu Mashaiyekh is a 57-year-old resident of the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza Strip. Recently, he designed a stove fuelled by gasoline, in order to roast bread and cook food for his 12-member family.
"What can I do? I have to resort to this otherwise, my family can not make bread or cook food. Truly, this type of stove was used by my family fifty years ago and now with no gas, no electricity and nothing, I have been forced to make this," Abu Abdallah told IslamOnline.net, while taking care of his stove.
In the same refugee camp, Mohammad Hammad's mother has been cooking with a wood stove for the past two months.
"We are tired of this life-style, but what can we do, we need to survive. However, we are bearing with this risky environmentally-unfriendly stove. We are now getting much more tired as we can not find wood to fuel it. The carpenters have been completely shut down and wood shipments have not been allowed in for the past three weeks, but thanks to Allah for everything".
Not only are food supplies are tight nowadays, but also health services and proper medications are in short supply. At the largest southern Gaza Strip hospital, the European-Gaza hospital, doctors complain of the lack of much-needed medicine for chronically-ill patients at these particular times.
Dr. Zaki Azzaq Zouq, an oncologist, explained, "There is a widespread shortage of essential medical supplies which we used to give to patients prior to the blockade. Currently, there are no tools for physicians to treat patients who suffer from lung, stomach, colon or brain cancer."
The Desperate Coming Eid
As Muslims worldwide will be soon marking their second major Muslim `Eid Al-Adha , where adult Muslim men should slaughter a sheep or goat, following the Sunnah and the tradition of Prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him) some thousands of years ago, the people of Gaza are apparently unable to do so.
In the same densely-populated refugee area of central Gaza Strip, hundreds of men gathered on Thursday morning in the local livestock weekly market on the outskirts of the Alburaij refugee camp.
"Allah does not oblige people to do things beyond their capacities. The prices are very high and unaffordable, but I will see whether or not I can buy a sheep for this `Eid," said Mohammad Sarsour, a 50-year-old refugee residing at the camp.
The largest livestock supplier in the Middle area, Ra'fat Weshah, confirmed that the people's purchase power has sharply decreased over the past eight years, particularly during the last 18 months.
"In the past, we used to sell more than 1300 livestock during the `Eid season, but now as you see we have only 90 livestock in this pen. Over the past 18 months, we have been unable to import from abroad, mainly Australia. Of course, this is all because of the blockade", he said.
What can the people of Gaza do? They can do nothing but try to preserve some of their dignity.
Time to Help
The Palestinians are in desperate need of food and medical supplies, and above all psychological support.
It is time to help our brothers and sister in Palestine, especially, that we are very close to `Eid, and one of our roles as Muslim youth is to try and think of ways to draw a smile on these innocent faces. This can be done by giving a helping hand, some time, effort or money.
For more information on the two appeals and both organizations response to this humanitarian crisis - click here:
Islamic relief: http://www.islamic-relief.com/NewsRoom/NewsDetails.aspx?catID=3&newsID=159
People at Indonesia can use KISPA (Komite Indonesia untuk Solidaritas Palestina - Indonesian Solidarity for the Palestine Solidarity) to facilitate your donation
Salurkan Infaq Peduli Al Aqsha
Ke Bank Muamalat Indonesia (BMI) Cabang Slipi
No. Rek. 311.01856.22 an Nurdin QQ KISPA