For Immediate Release


Joy Portella, 206.437.7885,
Helen Thompson, 646.270.8477,

Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps Partners With Reach Out to Asia to Assist Needy Gazan Families

Agencies join forces to bring food, medical supplies and other vital goods to as many as 60,000 civilians

PORTLAND, Oregon -  The global relief and development agency Mercy Corps has partnered with
Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), a non-governmental organization based in Qatar,
to respond to the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

The organizations will
procure and distribute up to 600 tons of food, medical supplies, blankets,
plastic sheeting and other emergency items. Some of these goods will be
purchased in Gaza, the West Bank and East
Jerusalem, while others will be transported via truck from Egypt. Mercy
Corps and ROTA hope that the trucks – as many as 27 total – will enter
Gaza this weekend.

“This unique
partnership allows us to significantly ramp up our Gaza relief efforts,” commented Mercy
Corps Regional Program Director David Holdridge. In partnership with ROTA, Mercy Corps plans to reach 60,000 war-affected
people in the Gaza Strip with life-saving aid in the coming weeks. Aid efforts
will focus on the poor, the elderly and families with young children.

“We are very
pleased to work with Mercy Corps to fill the pressing needs of families in the
Gaza Strip,” said Omnia Nour, Director of ROTA. “This is a telling
example of how our two organizations can make a far greater impact working
together than separately.”

This emergency response
is the first major collaboration on relief work between Mercy Corps and ROTA,
which in November 2008 signed an agreement to jointly support their shared
objectives: access to quality education, and alleviating the suffering of
people in communities recovering from disasters, conflicts and economic
collapse in the Middle East.

The agreement with ROTA
is part of Mercy Corps’ broader relief efforts in Gaza. The agency has already sent two
truckloads of food into Gaza
– enough to feed approximately 4,800 people – and is preparing many
more shipments. Mercy Corps has also purchased goods inside of Gaza,
and distributed mattresses, pillows, blankets, powdered milk and other goods to
hundreds of families in Rafah, Jabaliya, Khan Younis and Gaza City.

Mercy Corps reports that shipping goods into Gaza remains a slow and
frustrating process. The agency’s two successful food aid shipments have
been marked by significant delays, processes and bureaucracy. “It’s
a short drive from Jerusalem to Gaza; it shouldn’t take a week or more for
food to get there,” explained Holdridge. “We need immediate access
for humanitarian aid."


Mercy Corps

Crisis Fund

Dept NR

PO Box

OR 97208


Members of Mercy Corps’ Middle
East team are available for interviews about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. Please
contact Joy Portella, 206.437.7885 or to
schedule an interview.


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