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One year on: Gaza struggles to recover

8 July 2015 - One year after war devastated large parts of the Gaza strip, claiming more than 1,500 civilian lives, 100,000 people remain homeless, electricity and water supplies are still severely limited, schools and health facilities urgently need rebuilding and the unemployment rate is now the highest in the world. 

Israel’s blockade of the strip, in place since 2007, has made it impossible for Gaza’s population to recover from last year’s conflict.

William Bell, Christian Aid’s policy and advocacy officer said: “Thanks to the generosity of the British public and the tremendous work of our partners in Gaza, the Christian Aid Gaza Crisis Appeal has reached 115,000 people and continues to help tens of thousands more by providing water, food, shelter, agricultural rehabilitation, counselling and healthcare.

“But the level of need remains endemic. Restrictions on materials entering Gaza isolate it from the West Bank and the rest of the world. The blockade has helped to create some of the highest unemployment and aid dependency levels in the world, and must be brought to an end.”

During the 50 days of war, which started July 8, 1,500 Palestinians civilians and four Israeli civilians  were killed, according to the UN. The violence compounded an already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza as fragile communities and essential infrastructure came under fire.

Restrictions on the movement of materials into Gaza means that less than one per cent  of those needed to  rebuild houses destroyed and damaged during hostilities have been obtained.

Since 2007 the blockade has cut Gaza’s GDP by 50 per cent. Last year’s conflict led to a further decline of about $460 million, with construction, agriculture, industry, and electricity sectors affected the most, according to the World Bank statistics. 

Help provided by Christian Aid includes working through the Agricultural Development Association (PARC) to provide support to over 4000 people who lost jobs or agricultural land due to the fighting. A number of temporary jobs have been created for unemployed workers, rehabilitating damaged fields, greenhouses, irrigation channels and agricultural roads for future use. Food has also been provided to vulnerable families.

Christian Aid has also supported the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) which provided treatment to more than 30,000 people, with teams often risking their lives in neighbourhoods experiencing heavy shelling.

In addition, Christian Aid partner the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) has provided food, clothes and other items to more than 10,000 people and continues to provide psychosocial support to young people to develop their abilities, talents and sense of belonging.

There will be an exhibition of work by the children from CFTA at the P21 gallery in London in August.

If you would like further information please contact Johanna Rogers on jrogers@christian-aid.org and 020 7523 240. 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950  

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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