Hero photograph
The main DSPR office in Gaza City was severely damaged by airstrike. The office was also used for vocational training and the storage of medicines for the nearby primary health clinic.
Photo by DSPR

The Face of Gaza has Changed

Gillian Southey CWS —

Days after the Hamas attack on Israel triggered airstrikes and the threat of a ground offensive, residents of Gaza are facing unbelievable destruction.

Thousands of people have been killed, injured and displaced and nearly 200 people are being held as hostages. Medical facilities including the Al Ahli Arab Hospital, schools and homes have been damaged or destroyed. The need for an urgent ceasefire and humanitarian relief is undisputable.

Christian World Service is appealing for donations to help our partner, the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) respond as soon as conditions allow. It is preparing to help many more people with food, hygiene kits, shelter, medications and medical treatment, and psychosocial support.

The Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees grew out of the work churches did to support the first refugees from Palestine. It is now part of the Middle East Council of Churches. — Image by: MECC

DSPR Gaza will resume operations as soon as possible. It runs three health clinics, vocational training programmes, and provides emergency assistance to Palestinians regardless of their religious affiliation. The main office was severely damaged by air strikes. The Shiijaya Health Clinic was also damaged and the hall used for children’s activities totally burned. In late October there was no news from offices in Darraj and it was too dangerous to open in Rafah. Staff have lost homes and family members.

“They have changed the face of Gaza, you can’t recognise the locations and you feel that this is a strange place, as if you had never been there,” exclaimed one DSPR Gaza staff member.

While media attention is focusing on Gaza, DSPR Executive Secretary Nader Abu Amsha says the conflict in the West Bank is intensifying with more arrests and violence.

“It’s an extremely difficult time in Gaza. Our colleagues in Gaza keep telling us to pray for their safety and the safety of all people in Gaza. They have lost hope in politicians and governments,” he laments.

Donations to the Gaza Palestine Emergency Appeal can be made at cws.org.nz or by calling 0800 74 73 72.