The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jerusalem: Melanie Brooks, CARE,, +41.795.903.047
New York: Rick Perera, CARE,, +1.212.803.2905

Gaza: Even The Helpers are Helpless

Shelters full, humanitarian workers among hundreds in the street


An aid worker in Gaza whose blogs have moved readers around the world has been forced from his home and into the street by bombing, along with hundreds of neighbors including children and elderly people.

"The leaflets came yesterday, telling us our neighborhood would be attacked," says CARE staffer Jawad Harb. "The whole population of the area is terrified. We have nowhere to go."

The crisis facing Harb, one of CARE's local staff struggling to provide food and medical relief to civilians, underscores the desperate situation in Gaza. Harb and his family, including his six children and paralyzed 86-year-old grandfather, have been unable to find space in overflowing UN shelters, which received some 7,000 new displaced people last night alone.

"The street was the safest place. If our house is bombed, we'll get trapped and die like the people we saw on television," says Harb, reached by mobile phone. "My children have seen the dead bodies of children on television. They cry, they are crying now, they are terrified. When will this end? There was screaming. It is dark and cold but most of us are still outside.
"My children are shivering. It is getting so cold. Some neighbors went back inside, but they are staying on the first floor, next to the door so they can run outside. We don't know what will come next. This is the closest it has come to our house. The neighborhood next to ours was bombed. What do we do? We don't know."

CARE has unique access to first-hand information from Gaza and the West Bank, where our work includes programs in health, economic development, water and sanitation. We began providing aid in Israel and the Palestinian territories in 1949, concluding our programming in Israel in 1984 as the Israeli government improved its own capacity to address poverty.

CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. We place special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE's community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. CARE also delivers emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, and helps people rebuild their lives.