Palestinians need your support to rebuild lives shattered by conflict, says Islamic Relief as it outlines the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The most recent escalation of conflict in Gaza, which began in July, has worsened an already grave humanitarian crisis within the enclave.

Years of blockade and restrictions have trapped many Palestinians in poverty, with about 80 per cent of the population reliant on humanitarian or government assistance to survive. Successive outbreaks of conflict – including the most recent escalation, which killed more than 1,900 Palestinians – have deepened poverty and suffering.

Around 1.8 million people in the Gaza strip were affected by the fighting, in which essential infrastructure such as power stations, water treatment plants, hospitals and schools were damaged or destroyed. Almost 11,000 homes were left in ruins.

Months later, it is estimated that around 108,000 Palestinians will be displaced for the long-term. Hundreds of thousands are still living in emergency shelters which were set up at the height of the conflict, whilst others are sheltering with friends or family.

Children require specialist support

Children play amidst the rubble during the most recent conflict in Gaza.

Children play amidst the rubble during the most recent conflict in Gaza.

It is thought that at least 373,000 children – including orphaned children, who are amongst the most vulnerable – require specialist psychosocial support in the aftermath of the conflict. Around 5,400 orphaned children are currently sponsored through Islamic Relief.

Extensive damage to the education sector is also impacting on children and young people in Gaza, which had a shortage of nearly 200 schools even before the latest conflict. Almost two dozen schools have been destroyed or severely damaged in the fighting. Many more are in need of repair, with others that were used as emergency shelters requiring work to bring them back into use as educational facilities.

Infrastructure damage impacting on essential services

Gaza’s water system has been deteriorating for years. With infrastructure damaged in the fighting and an acute fuel shortage, safe drinking water is increasingly scarce and is becoming contaminated – posing a serious risk to public health. An estimated 1.2 million people now have reduced access to water, and everyone in the enclave is impacted by the water crisis.

With scores of medical facilities damaged or closed, as well as shortages in drugs and equipment, an increase in miscarriages, premature births, and neonatal mortality are amongst the impacts reported. Around USD $19 million is required to restore the health system.

Livelihoods in ruins

More than 19,000 farming families and 3,600 fishing families have lost their livelihoods. A ‘no go’ zone inside the Gaza strip has left farmers and herders unable to access their land. From the onset of the crisis, fishing families have been unable to access the sea. Currently reliant on food aid, they require support to earn a living once more.

Islamic Relief was on the ground providing life-saving aid throughout the fighting.

Islamic Relief was on the ground providing life-saving aid throughout the fighting.

Support for long-term solutions needed now

The Gaza Crisis Appeal, issued by UNOCHA, has shown a need of USD $ 367 million to help meet the immediate and most urgent needs of affected people. It does not yet include support for rebuilding damaged infrastructure or restoring livelihoods.

Islamic Relief has been working in Gaza for almost 20 years, and was on the ground providing life-saving assistance throughout the recent fighting. Today, we are calling for urgent support for our work to deliver long-term positive change for vulnerable people in Gaza.

We want to repair vital infrastructure such as schools, health facilities, and water systems. With your backing, we can provide adequate shelter during the winter months. In addition, we could enable families to rebuild their livelihoods, provide affected children with the psychosocial support that they need to overcome their experiences, and deliver projects to reduce the impact of any future crises.

With your help, we can support families to recover from this crisis and help to restore dignified living in Gaza. Donate to our Appeal for Palestine now.