Last week, preschool teachers from our Milk for Preschoolers program here had to resort to giving our fortified milk one day and the high energy biscuits on the next to make their supplies last longer. Today we are completely out of milk and biscuits inside of Gaza. The border remains closed.
When it opens for brief periods, an occasional UN truck with humanitarian aid gets through. But in the last month, ANERA has not been able to get anything to our Gaza office.
Lines of trucks rush to the Karem Shalom crossing when there is news of an opening, and our truck with the next shipment of milk and biscuits lines up with the rest of them. Unfortunately, our truck is repeatedly turned away, denied entry again and for no obvious reason.
Meanwhile our regular containers of donated medicine and medical supplies are stalled at the earliest stages of customs clearance. We face increased costs as valuable supplies remain stuck in Israeli storage for longer than ever before.
Only a small number of organizations have the long-established presence, capacity for coordination with Israeli and Palestinian officials, and commitment to humanitarian efforts that ANERA has had over the last forty years. We are proud to be known as a transparent organization that delivers. But right now, hospitals and clinics and families are having to wait in despair.
We don't know when the end will be, but we're not giving up. We're still:
· working with border officials to find possible solutions.
· speaking with officials in Washington to find access.
· driving to the border every time there might be an opening.
· paying to keep the supplies in storage so they can be delivered as soon as the border opens.
· supporting our committed staff here who continue to implement projects locally, employing local workers while we face daily power outages and significant loss of resources.
· staying in contact with hospitals, clinics, schools and preschools who would normally be receiving goods from us, to let them know we're working hard to get supplies in.**
· asking for support from our donors to ensure we can afford continued storage, proper distribution when supplies finally do get through, and continue projects that employ people who desperately need work. Please click here to donate today.
We all hope that soon we will be back to delivering. We hope that with the new year there will come new opportunities for us to do our work. We're grateful in Gaza for the part you play in helping us do our work.
From the Gaza office, I wish you health, happiness and peace in the coming new year.
All the best,
Gaza Office Director
Please donate today: https://secure2.convio.net/anera/site/Donation2?idb=1652893990&df_id=1280&1280.donation=form1
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**P.S. In a recent message from Ms. Suhaila Tarazi, Director of Ahli Hospital in Gaza, she wrote this:
"There isn't enough food, milk products, red meat, fruit, flour, and other types of food items. All sorts of necessities are just not available - matches, candles, school books, paper. There is also a big lack of fuel for the electricity power station and most Gazans are left daily with little electricity hours, and when that is cut off there is no water available at homes, since, of course, water needs pumps, which need fuel.
"As for Gaza hospitals, we are finding it increasingly difficult. The closures are becoming more and more restrictive and the situation is getting worse and worse. There is a big shortage in medicine and medical supplies. Currently and according to World Health Organization (WHO) 95 essential drugs and 174 medical supplies items are at zero level in the government hospitals. There is a lack of oxygen for patients due to the shortages of spare parts that are needed for the oxygen extractors' machines. Moreover, and according to MOH [Ministry of Health] in Gaza, 800 critical ill cases are prevented from treatment outside Gaza, 12% of them are children."