SOS co-workers of the SOS Children's Village in Rafah and associated facilities, as well as the co-ordinator of the family strengthening programme in Gaza City, described the situation following the blockade of the Gaza Strip as dire and dangerous for the entire population. In most parts of Gaza electricity is only available between one and three hours per day, effectively shutting down many operations, including sewage plants, hospitals, bakeries etc.
The situation in Rafah is slightly better, as electricity from Egyptian power plants is currently still being supplied. No fuel has been supplied since last Thursday. Supplies of cooking gas, which is also used for heating, are very difficult to come by, and most people have to endure the cold days and nights. Hospitals are only conducting the most urgent emergency operations, all other patients cannot be treated properly.
Children in the Palestinian territories suffer from the continous insecurity - Photo: T. Brandi
The SOS Children's Village in Rafah has sufficient fuel supplies for about two to three months, as well as essential food supplies. The village well has been made available to the neighbourhood due to water shortages, but the village is unfortunately not equipped to provide other emergency supplies to the general population. A water shortage is expected in two to three weeks' time if the situation does not improve.
Certain foods (including basics) that used to be imported are not available any more, and the price of locally produced food has increased by very large amounts due to the blockade and the cold, which has destroyed parts of local food production.
The supply of medical drugs, formerly provided by Care International, is expected to come to an end with the last delivery this week.
The situation is generally described as dangerous, and as a result the movement of people is severely restricted. Nevertheless, both the SOS Children's Village and the family strengthening programme are trying to continue their work as best as possible.