CNEWA Canada

CNEWA Responds to Needs in Gaza

On Saturday, 7 October, we woke up to the surprising news of another round of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, which continues to date with unimaginable destruction and loss of life.

Last Friday, 13 October, we woke up to another disturbing piece of news: A 24-hour ultimatum was made for Gazans living in the north to evacuate to Rafah in the south. Hundreds of thousands of people packed what they could carry and evacuated their apartments and headed south or took refuge at local schools, churches and hospitals.

From day one of the war, the CNEWA-Pontifical Mission Jerusalem Office has been coordinating with local Christians in the field: George Antone (the Latin parish of the Holy Family), Rami Tarazi (the Orthodox parish of St. Porphyrios) and Sami Tarazi, CNEWA-PM’s projects coordinator, to try to reach and provide for those in need. Already, they worked together to secure enough water and food supplies for 7-10 days. They have also mobilized and coordinated spaces for those that have been evacuated, organized meal distribution and other essential needs, especially for the sick and the elderly.

Additionally, through the Jerusalem office and the team in Gaza, food supplies and water, medicine for the elderly and emergency kits and fire extinguishers were delivered to the Orthodox convent, which was unprepared for the number of people taking refuge there.

Some 400 people of the Christian community took refuge at the Orthodox Church of St. Porphyrios while 470 people, including the Rosary Sisters and some 60 Brazilian nationals, are now sheltering at the Latin Church of the Holy Family. There are some 50 people with disabilities that are sheltering at the Sisters of Mother Teresa within the Latin Convent compound, while the Arab Orthodox Cultural Center has around 3,000 people sheltering there. The YMCA-Gaza has around 200 people taking refuge and an unknown number of people are residing at the Orthodox School and the Holy Family School. Al Ahli Arab Hospital was treating and sheltering some 5,000 people, but a rocket strike at the hospital on 17 October killed an estimated 500 people, Gaza’s Health Ministry reported.

CNEWA-Pontifical Mission has been working with the local institutions in Gaza for decades, which has led to trust and cooperation allowing for a smooth transfer of emergency supplies and support for the local community. Since the beginning of the war, we have coordinated relief efforts at three locations: the Latin parish, the Greek Orthodox church and the Arab Orthodox Social and Cultural Center.

For the time being, providing the immediate needs of the people remains the immediate concern. Needs are increasing and there is a demand for more food and water supply for one month. Financial support is immediately required to make sure we can sustain the current numbers under our care. So far, food, potable water, fire extinguishers, medicine (not already covered by our friends at Caritas Jerusalem), clothes for the elderly and other requirements have cost around 200,000 NIS ($50,000). Food for at least one month, as recommended by the authorities, will cost another $100,000. Local community contributions as well as partners active in Gaza are providing some $50,000 in support. CNEWA’s president, Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari, has released $100,000 for emergency needs; this follows an initial emergency grant of $10,000 released last week. This is but a drop in the bucket for what is needed.

It is crucial to provide these items at this time as no humanitarian supplies have been allowed into the Gaza Strip. Funds provided for this relief effort would ensure that the evacuated have food, water and the medicine they need. Transfer of funds to local banks and withdrawal of funds from banks in Gaza remains possible until this date.

Support CNEWA’s emergency relief efforts in the Holy Land.

Joseph Hazboun is the regional director for CNEWA-Pontifical Mission’s Jerusalem office.

Recent Posts

Get to know us and stay informed about the impact your support makes.

Nous constatons que votre préférence linguistique est le français.
Voudriez-vous être redirigé sur notre site de langue française?

Oui! Je veux y accéder.

Hemos notado que su idioma preferido es español. ¿Le gustaría ver la página de Asociación Católica para el Bienestar del Cercano Oriente en español?

Vee página en español