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MCC boosts humanitarian aid to Gaza in wake of attacks

December 29, 2008

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is committing an additional $15,000 for emergency food assistance in Gaza following Israel’s aerial bombardment of the impoverished region.

Earlier this month MCC approved an emergency cash grant of $10,000 to help the Amira Society, Al-Najd, and Culture and Free Thought Association distribute food assistance to some of the most vulnerable families in the Gaza Strip (north, central and south).

The ongoing Israeli economic blockade on the Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, had pushed people into deep levels of poverty even before the aerial attacks began.

"The situation was very bad in July when we visited Gaza but it is a lot worse now," said MCC worker Bassem Thabet in an interview from Jerusalem before the current Israeli attacks. Israel says the aim of its military campaign is to end rocket attacks launched into Israel from Gaza.

MCC staff has not been able to visit Gaza in recent months. However even before the attack MCC partner organizations in Gaza were reporting that some of the most vulnerable families now use milled animal feed to make pita bread and discarded plastic pipes as fuel to cook bread and meals.

An estimated 1,800 people will benefit from the MCC emergency assistance which will consist of food, blankets, clothes for children, diapers, mini gas cookers and more. The families will be chosen based upon need and the number of children in the household. Each kit will include different items according to the needs of the targeted families.

Although there is a shortage of food and supplies in Gaza and prices are high, the partner organizations will still purchase the food and other materials within Gaza. The economic blockade has made it very difficult to get food, fuel, medical supplies and other necessities into the region.

In February, MCC approved a $25,000 aid package to purchase food kits, blankets and winter clothing for distribution to 180 households in the Khan Yunis refugee camp and Gaza City.

A material aid shipment followed in early April providing 3,159 school kits, 3,285 health kits, 200 bales of comforters and 750 relief kits.

gaza crisis

Donations to MCC’s response in Gaza can be made online at mcc.org, by telephone (in the U.S. at 1-888-563-4676; in Canada at 1-888-622-6337) or by sending a cheque to your nearest MCC office. Donations should be designated “Palestine Emergency Assistance.”