Media CenterHumanitarian Crisis in Gaza Continues to Grow After Weekend of Deadly Violence

Shareef Sarhan for CRS

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Megan Gilbert
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
(443) 825-3640

 

JERUSALEM, May 8, 2019 – After a weekend of deadly violence in Gaza, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is thankful a ceasefire has been declared. Nevertheless, if fighting resumes and escalates, the already dire humanitarian situation will push Gaza to the brink. Since the United States imposed a number of funding cuts that began in early 2018, the people of Gaza have seen a steady reduction in access to food, clean water, medicine and essential services, leading to regular protests and higher tensions in the region.

“Those funding cuts impact every aspect of their lives,” Hilary DuBose, CRS’ country representative in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza said. “They are struggling to find work, feed their families, and get the health care they need.”

Gaza has experienced three major conflicts over the last 11 years, which severely damaged homes and infrastructure. Meanwhile, it continues to have limited economic prospects due to an ongoing blockade. Unemployment is at 53%, and in 2017 foreign aid accounted for 45% of total income of the poor in Gaza.

“Another war would just be too much for many people to bear,” DuBose said. “In some instances, people are still trying to recover from the last conflict.”

In early 2018, CRS and other humanitarian organizations working in Gaza were notified that the U.S. administration froze all foreign assistance to Palestinians while it conducted a review of these programs. This review is still ongoing, with no clear timeline or guidelines of how it will be resolved. This has severely impacted CRS’ ability to provide emergency food and other assistance at a time when the basic needs of innocent families are growing.

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to begin consideration of Fiscal Year 2020 funding for all foreign assistance later this week. CRS has asked Congress to take action to reverse the administration’s decision to withhold humanitarian assistance serving vulnerable families in the West Bank and Gaza. 

“Gaza is on the edge of a complete economic collapse,” DuBose said. “Any additional pressure could be disastrous for the people who live there, and restoration of humanitarian aid is urgently needed.”

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Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.  For more information, visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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