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Families become victims of violence in Gaza

While the SOS Children's Village Rafah remains unharmed, dozens of families who receive support from SOS Children's Villages' family strengthening programmes have been severely affected by the violence that has erupted in the Gaza Strip.

The violence in the Gaza Strip has affected dozens of beneficiaries of the SOS Children's Villages family strengthening programme (FSP) in the area. The Social Centre has been closed since the beginning of the Israeli campaign on 27 December and co-workers and volunteers have been advised to stay at home and communicate via telephone. According to reports, a number of government buildings close to the social centre have been destroyed by Israeli air strikes.
According to Ihsan Redwan, the national FSP coordinator in the Gaza Strip, a 13 year-old child from a family in the FSP from the northern town of Jabaliya has been severely wounded. The hospital, which has been operating well above capacity since the beginning of the recent conflict escalation, had to discharge him despite his critical health condition.

Meanwhile, five families in the FSP from Jabaliya have been displaced after their houses were destroyed by air raids and two more have abandoned their houses out of fear that they will be targeted. The families have either moved in with relatives or into UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) schools in the town. Families in the area’s FSP have been suffering from shortages of basic food supplies, including flour. Our local community based organisation partners have been trying to address this problem and have already succeeded in delivering some essential food items. Moreover, houses of several families in the FSP from the towns of Khan Yunis, Deir Elbalah and El Burij were destroyed and their inhabitants forced to seek shelter elsewhere.

In Rafah, the situation remains dire for seven families who were living close to the Egyptian border and fled to UNRWA schools to seek refuge. One of the houses has been reportedly damaged by the air strikes. SOS Children's Village Rafah and our local partners have been delivering basic food items to the families.

A large number of children from families participating in the FSP are suffering from psychological disorders as a result of the conflict escalation, including enuresis (bedwetting) and insomnia, among other things. SOS Children's Villages will address this as soon as some calm returns to the area since at the moment all medical personnel are overwhelmed with emergencies.

The FSP is assisting 900 children (187 families) by providing food parcels, schooling and child care activities, among other basic needs. FSP in the Gaza Strip has also been training care givers to help them run their own micro-projects by providing management skills and literacy courses and raising awareness on children's and women's rights.