With Homes and Infrastructure Destroyed, a Tough Winter Lies Ahead for Gaza

Winter is coming to Gaza, where some 100,000 people have been left homeless. On Twitter, @NourAlghussain says: "winter is on the doors here .and Gaza is still besieged >there's no materials to rebuild these houses #BreakGazaSiege"

Winter is coming to Gaza, where some 100,000 people have been left homeless. On Twitter, @NourAlghussein says: “winter is on the doors here .and Gaza is still besieged >there's no materials to rebuild these houses #BreakGazaSiege”

After the intense destruction caused by this summer's war, thousands of Gazans are left with insufficient resources to brave winter's coming cold.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in October 2014 that an estimated 20,000 homes were destroyed, displacing 100,000 people. Refugees either live with host families or in collective centers, like schools.

On Twitter, the first rains of autumn spurred concern for the refugees’ future.

Blogger Omar Ghraieb, who is based in Gaza, wrote:

Later that day, he added:

Posting these photographs when the rain finished, he tweeted:

In an article entitled, “No Shelter from Winter Rain for Thousands in Gaza,” collective blog Electronic Intifada‘s Rami Almeghari reported:

[…] hundreds of families whose homes were bombed by Israel lack basic infrastructure, including electricity and access to water, and remain in metal caravan shelters or at United Nations-run schools. Heavy rainstorms have recently swept through Gaza, further damaging the electricity, water and sewage networks.

“These people had no chance to be safe during the rains … it’s alarming for the whole population of the Gaza Strip, particularly those who have been displaced. The winter will be a difficult time for these residents,” [The Electronic Intifada's Rami] Almeghari explained

Though international donors have promised reconstruction aid, the physical process of reconstruction has not yet started. “These people have been waiting since the war ended in August for the reconstruction to take place,” Almeghari said

Numerous crowdsourced donation campaigns have also arisen. A selection of these are as follows.

An Indiegogo campaign by the Al-Rahma Society will provide winter clothing to refugee children. At time of writing, more than US$3,300 had been pledged of the $5,000 sought in funding:

Make Gaza children's winter warmer is the name of our campaign in which we advertise our message for the world to donate for our campaign, we try to collect money to buy the clothes for the children. When we receive any money we will start making deals with clothes stores, and prepare cards for the children to come and choose their needs. We will try to offer 50$ for each child.

On Go Get Funding, a user only identified as Abu Yazan has established a campaign called Help Gaza This Winter, raising $1,871 so far. The author writes:

Winter is coming for Gaza and this year its different than the years before. Winter this year will be hard since thousands of houses in Gaza are totally or partially destroyed and over 100,000 Palestinians are left homeless… This is an initiative to help these people out during the winter, to warm them, to protect them from the rain & expected floods and to reinforce their steadfastness in these hard times.

The campaign appears to be associated with Gaza Youth Breaks Out, an anonymous Palestinian youth group that describes itself on Facebook as a “political party,” as it links to them on the campaign page and they promote the project in this tweet:

The Save Gaza Project is running two simultaneous campaigns on Go Fund Me and Indiegogo. On Indiegogo, the campaign to provide backpacks and school supplies to children has raised 9,800 British pounds (about US$14,800) of its 15,000-pound goal, and on Go Fund Me, it has raised 5,200 pounds, 200 pounds over its original goal. The organization works in coordination with the Al-Tawheed Society in Gaza to distribute funds.

On Facebook, Palestine Loves Israel encourages donations to Gaza through Caritas, a well-respected international aid organization, writing:

As winter is about to come in the Middle East, many Gazans are still without proper shelter and suffer from a severe lack of warm clothes, blankets and other goods. I contacted Caritas Israel again to see weather they are still delivering goods to Gaza. They do… We recommend Caritas because they have been proven trustworthy and reliable more than many others that we checked so far, and they are working with local officials from the red cross and red crescent. http://www.caritas-germany.org/internationalaid/donations

During Israel's offensive in Gaza, 40 percent of Gaza's urban area was reduced to rubble, according to some estimates. Israel attacked the only power plant in Gaza on July 28, plunging the congested strip of 1.8 million people into darkness while putting its limited water and sanitation infrastructure under crippling stress.

On August 26, 2014, Israel and the Palestinian factions agreed to halt fighting indefinitely, putting an end to seven weeks of catastrophic destruction and loss of life. At least 2,100 Palestinians were killed, more than 10,500 injured, and 520,000 displaced during Israel ‘s massive offensive Protective Edge against the 40-kilometer-long coastal strip.

Follow our in-depth coverage: Indefinite Ceasefire War-Battered #Gaza

The photo included in the first tweet in the article was used widely over social media tagged with #Gaza and #Palestine, but its origin is unknown. If you know the original source, kindly provide it in the comments section below.
The citation of these campaigns does not signify the author's endorsement. The campaigns included in this post are examples of those mentioned on social media. There are many other funding opportunities available if you would like to support the people of Gaza through registered nonprofits.


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