For Immediate Release
Mercy Corps Launches Extensive Rebuilding and Post-Trauma Assistance in Gaza
British Government invests nearly $1.3 million in agency’s efforts to help families rebuild and kids recover
PORTLAND, Ore. - The global relief and development agency Mercy Corps will immediately begin work to help more than17,500 Palestinian civilians recover from the severe psychological and physical damage caused by the conflict between Israel and Hamas. This work, made possible by a $1.29-million grant from the British Department of International Development (DFID), will focus on the needs of children, people with disabilities, and families with damaged homes.
This new work marks a shift in Mercy Corps' focus from providing emergency relief to promoting long-term recovery. Emotional recovery, particularly for children, is a priority. Mercy Corps Psychosocial Program Manager Jasem Humeid notes children have been traumatized by weeks of violence. "Children can't sleep, they have nightmare, their behaviors regress, and they're very anxious and depressed. Kids in Gaza are used to violence, but they're never seen anything this prolonged or intense," explained Humeid.
Funding from DFID will allow Mercy Corps to offer emergency psychosocial outreach to 4,000 children and 800+ caregivers throughout the Strip. In addition, Mercy Corps will work with local partner organizations to provide more than 10,000 people with information about available social services. To do this, the agency will provide kids psychosocial activities in community centers, conduct home visits, and run targeted meetings of parents and caregivers.
Mercy Corps is also tackling the intense physical damage caused by the conflict, which Palestinian officials estimate to be nearly $2 billion. With more than 22,000 buildings destroyed or damaged, a new wave of homelessness has hit Gaza. According to Mercy Corps Gaza Program Manager Isdud Al-Najjar, "These people have nothing. Rebuilding in Gaza is expensive, and they have no money or materials. Many of them are hopeless."
Mercy Corps will provide 450 families with the basics they need to start repairing their homes and gain access to safe drinking water. Each family will receive a kit containing essentials like blankets, plastic sheeting, duct tape, water purification tablets and water tanks. The agency will also address the special rebuilding needs of people with disabilities, reconstructing access ramps for homes where a family member is disabled.
Prior to this week's developments, Mercy Corps had focused on rushing emergency relief to war-battered civilians in Gaza. Working with partners such as Reach Out to Asia, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office, and the US Agency for International Development, the agency is providing nearly 100,000 Gazans with basics like food and medical supplies. Mercy Corps' efforts have been consistently hampered by access problems for both goods and staff members.
HOW TO HELP:
Gaza Crisis Fund
PO Box 2669
Portland, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an interview.