“Do not forget us “ – a scream from Gaza
GAZA STRIP – Interviewed by Italian-speaking antenna of Radio Vatican, Fr Mario Da Silva, Vicar of the Latin Parish of Gaza, answers questions raised by Anna Zizzi about the situation and needs of the Palestinian enclave, victim of an open-ended conflict with Israel, started in July 2014. He sends a scream for help.
Conditions here in Gaza, more particularly after the war, stand for a humanitarian disaster, as reconstruction works have not started yet. There is just some cleaning work, which is the only thing being done before the coming of funds promised for the reconstruction. People who were hit by the war still live amid ruins and rumbles, and today – more than ever before – the situation is yet harder because of the cold weather. During one same week, a month ago, four kids died because of the cold. No power, no gaz. We cannot heat up our homes. That’s why our situation here, after the war, is a real humanitarian disaster.
What are the basic needs and hardships for the moment?
There are different levels of needs. There is first of all need for food to all homeless and jobless people. 50 % of the population is jobless. However, there is indeed a pressing need for homes. Houses along the borderline of Gaza were all destroyed; inhabitants are homeless, they dwell with parents, or else in containers given to them by UN, while others live under the debris. That’s why priority now is to reconstruct houses.
What are your main means to help the local population?
Our relief scheme, through the parish or Catholic institutions, is primarily the basic needs of persons, more particularly for food, blankets and heating. We have distributed some gaz cylinders, but the needs are widespread. We can only offer minor things.
In addition to your relief, are there other active organizations to overcome these difficulties?
There are other organizations – chiefly the UN in charge of reconstruction. But because of different political considerations we cannot receive the funds that were promised. Therefore UN cannot do much. There is Caritas, and Islamic organizations which try to help us, but only little resources get to us. The world has forgotten us a bit for the moment, therefore relief funds do not reach us quick as it did right after the war.
What are your pleas to the international community ?
Our request to the international community is the following: do not forget us! War has ended but there are still its consequences; homes are destroyed, thousands of persons are homeless. Do not forget us! I wanted to say as well that following what we see at the hands of the Islamic State, Christians fear that these movements get to us over here. Pray for us, pray for our situation here, pray more especially for Christians who suffer ..
Translation by Latin Patriarchate Jerusalem