Since October 7 and the escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas, around 14,500 people were killed and more than 27,000 were injured in Gaza by continuous bombing by Israeli forces. Israel’s retaliatory response comes after a massive attack launched by Hamas on October 7, killing 1,200 Israelis and taking hostage 240 Israelis and foreign nationals.
Danila Zizi, Humanity & Inclusion's Country Director for the Occupied Palestinian Territories explains the humanitarian response provided by HI in Gaza since October 7.
Working with displaced people
Humanity & Inclusion's emergency activities remain concentrated in shelters for displaced persons. With the efforts of our 100 staff and volunteers, we have been able to reach all 94 shelters that have been set up in Gaza and assess the humanitarian needs of more than 5,000 displaced people.
Distributing mobility devices, supplies
So far, HI has distributed almost all of its three stocks of assistive devices and items for emergency situations in southern Gaza: We have distributed 575 wheelchairs, crutches, and other mobility aids for people who are wounded or with disabilities. Additionally, we provided 295 wound dressings to families to help them treat light injuries that do not require a doctor.
We also distributed 40 kitchen sets, 69 dignity kits, 1,158 diapers, and 75 baby blankets to displaced families who left their houses in a hurry without bringing anything and are now in shelters. We were able to organize the same distribution in the West Bank, where we provided 470 dignity care and hygiene kits to displaced families from Gaza.
With our partners, overall, we were able to distribute humanitarian aid to up to 3,500 people.
Recreational activities and risk education
We have conducted 67 recreational activities in shelters for up to 29,000 people, the vast majority being children. Consisting of games and songs, these activities are important to alleviate children's anxiety and provide them with a moment of normality.
Almost 10,000 children and adults participated in our risk education and preparedness for conflict sessions. 900 leaflets were distributed, and an SMS was sent to 500,000 people just a few days after the beginning of the violence reminding the best practice to protect oneself in the context of armed conflict. These sessions are crucial as they provide information about the dangers caused by the presence of explosive remnants following a bombing campaign and instruct the public on how to protect themselves. They also offer tips on the best ways to protect oneself during an attack.
A long-term response
We are exploring the possibilities to scale up our response in Gaza. We are organizing a large shipment of humanitarian supplies from Egypt to Gaza in the coming days. We are considering working in host communities and houses, supporting emergency rehabilitation care in hospitals or using mobile teams for rehabilitation and psychosocial support to cover more locations…
We will also gradually expand the number of our teams. 100 people from HI and partners are already working on our activities in Gaza.
We know that even if violence ends today, our response to the crisis in Gaza will be a long-term operation.
About HI in Palestine
HI launched its first project in Palestine in 1996. For the last 27 years, our teams have been responding to the needs of the Palestinian community – both in West Bank and Gaza – across several sectors. HI Palestine is running projects in Disaster Preparedness and Risk Reduction, Physical and Functional Rehabilitation, Economic Inclusion and Economic Recovery, and Inclusive Education.