LFT Emergency Relief in Gaza
Over the past month, the activities of the LFT in Gaza have brought comfort to so many innocent families who lived through some of most traumatic days of their lives in 10 days of heavy aerial bombardment ending on 21 May. The summary of our teams’ assessment showed that:
- 55% of families reported that their houses were damaged and over 20% of the families either lost or had serious damage to their assistive devices during the aggression on Gaza which includes hearing aids, wheelchairs, walkers, eyewear, and others supports.
- 70% of families reported that they couldn’t secure fixed source of income to provide basic needs for their families. 12% of the respondents reported damage to their place of work preventing or delaying their earning an income.
- 50% of families reported that they were forcibly displaced due to risk of attack by the bombardment, located in border towns or areas of increased shelling.
- 82% of the displaced families reported that they were hosted by their relatives, and 14% reported that they sought UNRWA schools for shelters.
- 62% of the displaced families reported that their place of shelter lacked any basic needs including water, electricity, food, food for the children, hygiene, clothes, dignity kits, medicine, fuel for cooking, mattresses or blankets. There were also no assistive devices, nor were swellings adapted for people living with disabilities. Often spaces were undignified with more than 30 persons taking shelter in one room.
Here is a clip showing some of the families you will be assisting:
Beyond this physical devastation was the psychological and mental trauma of death, destruction and devastation being all around. Of the families we surveyed:
- 98% of the children reported psychosocial trauma as their mothers reported that they experienced nightmares, sleeping disorders, behavioural changes, lack of concentration, and severe posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among most children and women. A very high percentage of the children reported being anxious even after the end the aggression, with a majority reporting feeling terrified when hearing sounds such as doors slamming, leading them to become uncharacteristically aggressive, with bed wetting, inconsolable crying and lack of concentration.
As always, the assistance you provided to these families has been very highly appreciated. Over 300 families will directly benefit from the assistance including a further 40 families whose children suffer from chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
How is your assistance making a difference? The LFT is providing:
- nutrition and food assistance for the families where nearly 70% are unable to afford the basic needs of nutrition and food for their children. They reported that they are highly in needs to food assistance;
- hygiene kits and basic needs where the needs of hygiene kits were increased during the ongoing escalation, and they couldn’t afford the needs of hygiene kits; Providing hearing aids and assistive devices is essential for the families of the children with disabilities. There is a huge increase in the needs for assistive devices, where previously, many families lacked access to hearing aids, batteries or other assistive devises;
- The LFT is a unique provider of mental health first aid to the communities living with disability in the Gaza strip and over 20 staff at the deaf school have been trained in healing trauma and anxiety through a range of activities by our LFT colleagues in the UK;
- Access to health services and medical tools where during the emergencies the families don’t have access to medical clinic or health facilities as the medical clinics are closed for the urgent cases only.
This month we have also provided psychosocial staff with wellbeing sessions rather than training. These sessions are designed to restore a sense of balance after the recent bombings and enable the staff to feel less stressed and traumatised.
We share some comments we received after the last session:
My body was like a butterfly after the exercise. I felt as if I were flying
I felt before there were bolts in my joint but now feel like those knots have eased
[I appreciate ] making space for new feelings – emptying your cup to accept new feelings
[I appreciate ] to think about solutions and being optimistic