In July 2014, the International Transportation Federation (ITF) and OXFAM Canada called on the Canadian Labour Congress and its affiliates for immediate humanitarian assistance to the peoples of Gaza caught in the bombing raids. The SJF responded by providing $5,000 to the ITF and another $5,000 to OXFAM.
The ITF appeal was built on the successful experience it had during the 2009 conflict, when the ITF was able to get several cargo loads of medical supplies and ambulances into Gaza. The SJF supported that appeal in 2009. The ITF also included a solidarity fund to help train and organize a transport workers union in Gaza during its recent appeal.
Ten months since the conflict began and more than eight months since the ceasefire, OXFAM reported that the situation in Gaza remained desperate. Around 100,000 people, more than half of them children – are still displaced as their homes have been destroyed. People’s livelihood, such as farming and fishing have been devastated. Vital water and sanitation infrastructure, schools and health facilities that were destroyed, have yet to be rebuilt.
More than ever, Gaza's fishermen are struggling to make a living. Years of restrictions on their movement and livelihoods have taken a heavy toll, and the latest escalation in violence has made things worse. At least 32 boats and 1,000 nets have been destroyed, affecting the livelihood of 3,600 families. Sabri Baker, 53, said, "Before this military operation started, the situation was already very bad. Now my boat is gone I have nothing at all. I really do not know what will I do now, or how I will even provide food to my children.”
OXFAM has helped more than one third of the population in Gaza, i.e. 660,000 people. At the peak of the crisis, OXFAM delivered safe drinking water by truck, installed generators to pump water and replaced damaged water systems. It has continued to support its health program, working with partners to support mobile health clinics, health centres and Al Awda hospital with fuel, water and medical supplies.
Durant le conflit, Manar, 11 ans, et sa famille ont fui leur domicile, complètement détruit. « J’ai perdu tout ce que j’aimais dans cette maison. Mon bonheur est resté enfoui sous les décombres. J’espère retrouver un peu de ce bonheur à mon école, mais le premier jour, les dommages m’ont bouleversée et effrayée. Les classes sont bondées et l’eau s’infiltre lorsqu’il pleut. Mais j’aime mon école. Avoir à nouveau ma propre maison et une école pourrait m’aider à oublier tous les mauvais jours vécus durant la guerre. »
À mesure que la bande de Gaza passera des secours d’urgence au rétablissement à plus long terme, l’appui international sera plus nécessaire que jamais. Le FJS examine actuellement des possibilités d’appui pour la reconstruction à long terme. Notre partenaire, OXFAM, souligne toutefois que la bande de Gaza se remettra complètement de la crise qui touche sa population seulement si Israël lève le blocus de façon permanente.
[Photos: Lyad Al Baba/Oxfam]