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Supporting Families through Winter in Gaza
Published 01/05/2023 by Lizzie Hickman
By Ziad Bakri and Lizzie Hickman
In Palestine, winter brings near freezing temperatures and torrential rain, leaving families that cannot afford to winterize their homes at the mercy of the weather. To help families overcome winter-related challenges, Global Communities distributed 350 winterization and hygiene kits and conducted health promotion sessions with 3,485 households in the Al Qaraa and Abassan localities of South Gaza in 2022.
These actions were part of the GAZA Household WASH Activity implemented by Global Communities with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and in partnership with Beit Lahia Development Association and Bayader for Environment and Development. The three-year program, which began in 2021, aims to improve human health, environmental health and the livelihoods of communities by increasing access to facilities and services for safe water and improved sanitation.
By September 2024, the Gaza Household WASH Activity will reach 22,050 households and 132,300 people on the Gaza Strip with support activities related to water, sanitation and hygiene.
“There were times when I woke my kids up at midnight because of the leaking ceiling. The only solution was to take them to my family’s home until the situation got better,” said Noha*, whose family was among those to receive a winterization and hygiene kit in 2022.
Noha, her husband Omar* and their four children live on the Gaza Strip in a 968-square-foot home made of asbestos and zinc sheets. Before, when it rained in the winter, water would fall through cracks in their ceiling, soaking the mattress and making the family sick. Noha would have to use buckets to collect rainwater and move furniture out of areas that were likely to get wet. Now, the tarpaulin included in the winterization kit prevents rain from leaking into their home.
“Because of the tarpaulin, we have a safe place to sleep,” Noha said.
For another family identified in need by the program, lack of access to cleaning and hygiene materials posed a different set of challenges. Rami* has had two kidney transplants in the past 10 years, making medical care and at-home hygiene vital to prevent infections. When Rami lost his job, he and his wife, Amina*, had to rely on the help of family members to access hygiene materials before receiving a kit of their own from Global Communities.
“Having the cleaning materials helped me take care of Rami when he was sick. I was able to provide a clean space for him.”Amina, recipient of hygiene kit from Gaza Household WASH Activity
Over the course of 2023, Global Communities will distribute an additional 350 winterization and hygiene kits and provide health promotion sessions to around 4,000 households in the south of Gaza. We will also begin on-the-ground implementation of two stormwater projects, three wastewater projects and three water projects to improve living conditions, reduce flooding risks and rebuild critical infrastructure destroyed by conflict.
*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.
This success story is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Global Communities and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.