What is the current situation in Gaza?
On October 7, Hamas launched horrific attacks that resulted in the killing of hundreds of Israeli civilians. Counter attacks by the State of Israel killed thousands more Palestinian civilians in Gaza, further threatening extremely vulnerable communities.
Of the 2.3 million residents of Gaza, more than 1.93 million, or 85% of its population, have become internally displaced. The State of Israel has cut off electricity, and significant damage to critical infrastructure and essential services has impacted people’s ability to maintain their dignity and basic living standards.
According to the United Nations as of December 11, the number of people killed in Gaza has exceeded 18,205 and more than 49,000 people have been injured.
What is CWS doing to help?
CWS is partnering with ACT Alliance and other partners to provide immediate, life-saving emergency support and to restore access to basic services for the people affected by the conflict in Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank. ACT Palestine Forum members issued an appeal to raise more than $5 million over two years for responding to urgent needs with a special focus on people who have been directly affected by the current conflict.
As of December 5, CWS supporters helped to raise more than $7,500 towards the ACT Alliance emergency response.
CWS has also called for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages and expanded humanitarian access in Gaza to ensure urgent access to humanitarian supplies including food, water, medicine and fuel. CWS continues to call for the end of the occupation and the protection of civilians according to international humanitarian law and human rights law.
Read our recent press release on CWS’ grave concern and deep disappointment over the U.S. veto of a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, find all of CWS’ recent statements in our situation report and join us in urging U.S. officials to call upon Israel to enact an immediate ceasefire, enable humanitarian aid to enter Gaza and allow Gazans to access safe spaces such as schools, hospitals and houses of worship in our action alert.
What are the response efforts so far?
Through the response, ACT Alliance partners are providing critical services, including cash assistance, livelihoods support, medical health and psychosocial support and housing assistance.
ACT partners are engaging with forcibly displaced groups to provide psychosocial interventions for small groups of women and children, as well as psychological first aid training to better equip groups of people with the tools needed to reduce panic during emergency situations.
The lack of food and clean water in Gaza has become catastrophic, and ACT partners are distributing hygiene kits to provide essential supplies, along with cash distributions to more than 920 households. There is significant need for medical care as functioning hospitals have been reduced from 36 to 18 and they continue to be under threat of bombardment. ACT partners are organizing health awareness sessions for groups of mothers to promote better health and nutrition and receiving clinic patients to provide medical supplies and primary health services. Additionally, partners are providing essential support, such as food and basic supplies, to nearly 800 Christian community members that are sheltering in Gaza.
The ACT Palestine forum has continued to play a critical role in strengthening coordination among its members and facilitating timely information sharing, and collaboration with the ACT secretariat has strengthened advocacy efforts.
How can you get involved?
The humanitarian crisis in Gaza continues to escalate, and there is profound need for humanitarian supplies, medicine, fuel and clean water. To support the ACT Alliance emergency response, donations can be made online or sent to Church World Service (P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515).