The blockade is still up at the Gaza Strip, but Kamil El-Shami, project coordinator of the SOS Children's Village in Rafah, says that the border crossings to Israel are being opened from time to time, to let relief supplies through. "The Gaza Strip is getting almost all of its supplies via Israel. Nothing gets through if the borders are closed", said Mr El-Shami.
As the border has been opened from time to time, the SOS Children's Village has been able to build up enough stocks. Fuel is the only thing that is lacking. With the help of CARE, a delivery of 1,800 litres of fuel is expected - the first delivery of 420 litres is due to arrive this week. It will be used, amongst other things, to fuel the village generator, which is in turn used for the water pumps. Electricity and water supplies are the biggest issue in the people's everyday lives - in addition to the instability.
"The SOS Children's Village provides people from the neighbourhood with water for four to five hours a day. Hundreds of people come to get water every day", said Mr El-Shami. CARE, UN organisations, other NGOs and local aid programmes provide support for the people in the Gaza Strip. If SOS Children's Village Rafah finds out about areas where families require aid, it gets into contact with international NGOs.
The children would have "normally" spent their four weeks of summer holidays at a summer camp, together with children from the neighbourhood and other areas of the Gaza Strip. Whilst there, they learn local folklore, such as traditional dances and songs, as well as learning IT skills, English, French and German. This year, however, the stay at the camp had to be cancelled. An alternative programme is now on offer at the SOS Children's Village. Children from the neighbourhood are also coming to the village to take part in the programme. An additional course is also currently on offer for those that have finished studying, who can go to IT and language classes.
Kamil El-Shami says that the country is at present extremely unstable: "We cannot go to the sea. We cannot go from Rafah to Gaza and we cannot go to farming areas either. All the children are at the SOS Children's Village, as are all the mothers and aunts who were on holiday and have since come back. Everyone here is praying for peace."