Posts Tagged ‘Gaza’

Gaza: Thanks for Answered Prayers for End to Violence

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Thank you for praying for an end to the violence between Israel and Gaza. The November 22 ceasefire announcement is a huge relief for the civilian populations on both sides — the primary victims of the conflict. CRS Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza country representative Matthew McGarry visited Gaza this weekend with good news about our staff, their families and the CRS office.

“There’s no question that our staff and their families were shaken by the intensity of the airstrikes, but we’re grateful that they all emerged unscathed. A few of our staff’s homes suffered minor damage, but nothing significant. Our Gaza office was not damaged, and we’re now back to normal operations.”

“Our staff are in good spirits and immensely grateful for the outpouring of prayers and support. Having lost a week of important work in Gaza, we are all back at work and keeping busy.”

Praying for an End to the Violence between Gaza and Israel

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

We ask you to please join us in praying for the safety of our staff, partners and brothers and sisters in the Middle East as the violence escalates between Gaza and Israel. Catholic Relief Services has staff on the ground and can assure you we are monitoring the situation closely and will respond with a compassionate humanitarian response if needed.

If the situation continues to deteriorate, we know from past experience that there may be delays getting emergency supplies to the people who will immediately need it. Currently, we are praying that cooler heads will prevail, while making initial preparations for an eventual response.

Given the instability of the current situation, CRS may need to respond as quickly as possibly. Therefore, we invite you to go here to help with our response to emergencies like this. As always, thanks for your support. We could not perform this lifesaving work in so many places around the world without your generous gifts.

Congressmen Visit CRS Project in Gaza

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
Gaza park

Congressman Bob Inglis (R-South Carolina) meets with Gazan youth at a park near Jabalia in Gaza. Photo by LeAnn Hager/CRS

On Tuesday April 7, U.S. Representatives Stephen Lynch (D-Mass) and Bob Inglis (R-South Carolina) visited a CRS project in Gaza as they assessed humanitarian needs following January’s conflict. The congressmen visited Al Sheikh Zayed park, located between Jabalia Camp and the Beit Lahia neighborhood. The park, which was created by the Palestinian Authority several years ago, was damaged during the bombing. If materials become available, CRS hopes to rehabilitate it and other community spaces.

CRS Delivers Aid to Thousands in Gaza

Friday, February 6th, 2009

CRS Regional Information Officer Laura Sheahan sends this report on aid to Gaza.

On February 5, CRS began distributing parcels of canned food, blankets, hygiene items and more to thousands of needy people in the war-torn Gaza Strip.

CRS Aid Arrives in Gaza

Monday, February 2nd, 2009
Gaza relief

CRS goods like canned tuna, biscuits, blankets and candles began arriving in Gaza on Sunday, February 1. Packages will be distributed to 1500 war-affected families in Gaza. Photo by CRS staff

As families in the war-torn Gaza Strip struggle to get by without essentials, CRS trucks containing food like tuna and urgently needed non-food items like blankets arrived in Gaza on Sunday.

Ninety-six pallets of humanitarian aid items passed through the border crossing at Kerem Shalom (in the south of Gaza). They were delivered to warehouses in Rafah and Middle Area in preparation for distributions that will take place this week.

An additional 54 pallets of aid items are in the logistics pipeline and are expected to be transported to North Gaza within the next 10 days. The items will help at least 1500 vulnerable families start to rebuild their lives following January’s violence.

CRS Readies Aid for 1500 Gazan Families

Friday, January 23rd, 2009
Gaza aid

CRS staff and volunteers load boxes for delivery to Gaza as part of a relief effort that will serve 1500 families. Photo by Michelle Barsa/CRS

This week in the West Bank, college-age volunteers helped pack hundreds of boxes with blankets, diapers, plastic basins, and other items to be delivered to 1500 families in the war-torn Gaza Strip. CRS is also sending ready-to-eat food like canned tuna because many families have no way to cook food.

Elias Kreitem, Operations Manager in CRS’ Jerusalem office, said that CRS’ efforts have received a great deal of local support. “The supplier has contributed a lot and was willing to help in all circumstances, like giving us extra warehouse space at no additional charge. I visited the storerooms [on Jan. 20] and all volunteers (most of them with university degrees) were packing the purchased items. Many of them were scouts and worked every day almost until midnight in order to send the packages to Gaza in a timely manner. I was happy to see things moving forward with this help and enthusiasm from all suppliers and scout members.”

Gaza Aid Update

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

With fighting continuing in the Gaza Strip, our prayers are with our colleagues in Gaza and Israel.

A morning press release updates information about our response:

“As the conflict in Gaza and Southern Israel continues, Catholic Relief Services will provide 500 war-affected families in Gaza with desperately needed food and other humanitarian relief supplies. With a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development and $100,000 from its American donors, CRS will distribute food, hygiene items, blankets, candles, and other essentials.”

Here is the complete press release.

Pope Prays for Peace in Gaza

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Reprinted courtesy Vatican Information Services.

VATICAN CITY, 4 JAN 2009 (VIS) – After the Angelus the Pope invited all to pray for an end to the war in Gaza, recalling that hatred and war do not resolve problems.

“Today, in all the churches of the Holy Land, the patriarchs and leaders of the Christian churches of Jerusalem invite the faithful to pray for an end to the conflict in the Gaza Strip and implore justice and peace for their land. I join with them and ask you to do the same, remembering, as they are saying, ‘the victims, the wounded, those with broken hearts, who are living in anguish and fear, that God bless them with consolation, patience, and the peace that proceeds from Him”.

CRS Project Manager Omar Shaban Reports from Gaza

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008
Omar Shaban

Omar Shaban is CRS project manager in Gaza. Nicknamed “Mayor of Gaza” by friends and colleagues, Omar joined CRS in 2001. Photo by Kat Burnside/CRS

We spoke by phone this morning with CRS Gaza project manager Omar Shaban, who at the moment is living outside Gaza City.

We called to see how he and his family are faring following the recent bombings.

First, Omar assured us his family is doing well under the circumstances. They’re in a rural area outside Gaza City and, so far, removed from areas being targeted for bombing.

In the coming days and weeks, a chief concern for Omar and other CRS staff will be how to get aid to people who most need it. There’s no question the need will be great given what Omar has seen since Gaza bombings began Saturday.

Omar said he’d gone out earlier in the day and found shops and banks closed. He said Gazans lack basic food supplies such as flour and cooking oil. Power is unavailable in many areas, so even with supplies, cooking can be difficult to impossible.

Omar asked us to please “say ‘hi’ to everyone in Baltimore and the U.S.” Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his wife Sohair and their two sons Salam and Nour.

“Gaza has become a dead city”

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Israel recently launched airstrikes on Gaza in retaliation for the Qassam (homemade) rockets that Gazan militants often fire into Israeli territory. Gazan civilians have suffered severe collateral damage. Omar Shaban, CRS’ Head of Office in Gaza, writes:

Gaza_Omar Shaban

Omar Shaban, CRS’ Head of Office in Gaza. Photo by CRS

The situation is the Gaza Strip is unprecedented in terms of the level of suffering. Most of the victims are civilians; many houses were destroyed. When Israeli air fighters targeted Hamas’ buildings, which are empty, all the buildings in the area were severely damaged. There is no raw material available in the markets, no glass to repair the windows, no wood to repair the doors and kitchens, no tools and spare parts to repair the water and electricity networks which were damaged by the shelling. There is no fuel at all — very few cars and people are on the streets.

The entire area from the Erez crossing to Salah Din Road is under Israeli bombardment. People who live in these areas can not leave their homes. Journalists were not allowed to enter closely to these areas. Humanitarian organizations were allowed to enter into these areas only in the second day of the military operation.

Gaza’s hospitals are not able to cope with the huge number of casualties. Hospitals are treating people in the corridors because the ICUs are too small to cope with the number. Gaza City has become a dead city.