In the last month, 1,935 people in Gaza have been killed and 10,866 wounded by violent attacks. The UN estimates that 85% of the deaths have been civilians. In addition, hundreds of thousands of families have been forced to flee from their homes. In neighbouring Israel, the conflict has also led to death and injury.
World Renew is partnering with TEAR Fund New Zealand and the Bethlehem Bible College’s humanitarian arm, The Shepherd Society to meet the urgent needs of those most-affected by this crisis.
This is just one of several horrific conflicts going on in our world today. As in Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, the Ukraine, and the Central African Republic, World Renew is responding to the urgent needs of people affected by this escalating conflict.
Conflict and need are not new in this region. Gaza had been under a strict blockade since Hamas took control of the area in 2007. Israel has controlled everything that goes in and out of the Gaza strip, right down to a specific food calorie count for every man, woman and child. During this time, the region has existed on the edge of a humanitarian crisis. Each conflict pushes the population further over that edge.
After the latest aerial strikes and bombardments in Gaza it is estimated that water supplies and sewerage infrastructure to 1.2 million people have been cut or severely disrupted. In addition, electricity infrastructure has mostly been destroyed, leaving a large part of Gaza’s population of 1.8 million with very little power. Due to the blockade, food and medical supplies have greatly diminished, and the high rate of unemployment has left many unable to purchase needed supplies.
“Reports coming out of Gaza paint a distressing picture,” explains TEAR Fund New Zealand staff. “Bombed-out houses line the streets, children play in the rubble, and in the night they fall asleep to the sounds of rockets. Widows mourn the loss of their husbands, and mothers are afraid that they may never see their children again.”
World Renew is partnering with TEAR Fund New Zealand and the Bethlehem Bible College’s humanitarian arm, The Shepherd Society to meet the urgent needs of those most-affected by this crisis. For the next three months, 1,160 families will receive cash grants to purchase food, medicine and housing where their homes have been destroyed. In addition, staff social workers are assessing the needs of affected families, and a psychologist is providing them with counselling.
“While there are many differing political views on this context and conflict, one thing is certain: It is our Christian responsibility to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our brothers and sisters who are suffering.” explains World Renew’s Director of Disaster Response, Wayne de Jong. “As with most conflicts, it is the innocent who suffer most. It is important to let them know that they are loved. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Bethlehem Bible College in order to demonstrate a distinctly Christian response to this conflict.”
Faten is the student coordinator for Bethlehem Bible College and an active member of the Baptist church in Gaza that is partnering with The Shepherd Society to bring relief and support to the most vulnerable in the midst of the current escalation of violence. She also knows the horrors of this conflict first-hand. Recently, a missile struck the home of Faten’s family in Gaza. An elderly relative was killed, another relative was injured and a young boy was left crippled. Faten’s own building shook from a nearby explosion and the windows were blown out.
When asked if she had anywhere to find safe refuge, the committed Christina, Faten, she said that the only refuge she has is God.
Faten is a shining example of a person of faith in the middle of conflict. Even though she is grieving the loss of a loved one, she is working tirelessly and courageously to provide assistance to those who are even worse off. Like many others, Faten faces the threat of shelling, limited access to food and medical supplies, and yet keeps working to meet the needs of people in need.
Please pray for Faten and others who are working to bring hope and aid to families in desperate need.
To support World Renew’s response to this dire emergency and help provide food, medicine and shelter to families that have been affected by the conflict, please donate online.*
Checks marked “Gaza Conflict 2014” can also be sent to:
World Renew US
1700 28th St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
World Renew Canada
P.O. Box 5070 STN LCD
Burlington, Ontario, L7R 3Y8
If you would like to support World Renew’s response to various conflict situations in addition to the one in Gaza, please mark your gift “International Disaster Response – Wherever the Need is Greatest.”
STORY: World Renew Staff, with reporting from TEAR Fund New Zealand
PHOTO: Palestinian children wait to collect water during a five-day truce in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip August 14, 2014. The renewed truce between Israel and Hamas appeared to be holding on Thursday despite a shaky start, after both sides agreed to give Egyptian-brokered talks more time to try to end the Gaza war. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa