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Gaza crisis: We can't afford food or medicine

11 Aug 2014

Mr Shehada at an ADA meeting. (c) HelpAge InternationalMr Shehada is 74 and an ADA leader living in Gaza. A member of the Arab Union of Writers and the Palestinian Writers and Journalists Union, Mr Shehada has spent years campaigning for the most vulnerable. 

He is a central figure for ADA in Gaza and has previously challenged the Minister for Social Affairs in Gaza to provide better access to healthcare for older people.

We spoke to Mr Shehada via web cam when he was at the HelpAge International office in Gaza City:

"I am fine, very well. I'm still living in Shatee Camp in Gaza. As long as we can help older people, our God will help us.

"My house is OK but we lost a lot of people in Shatee camp. There are 85,000 in the camp. Maybe 40 were killed, maybe more. Women were falling down...

"Over the whole conflict, we have lost 400 children, 200 women and older people. And many others... The older people here in Gaza were very afraid because of the war, not just for themselves but for their children and for their homes.

"Another family is living in my house, they lost relatives. There are 27 of us living together; all sleeping in one room. It is not very easy to find food; we are trying to help the family that's staying with us. The head of the family is injured and is in intensive care in Shifa hospital.

Our money is running out

"In terms of food; some people are helping us, but most people are very poor. Most of our food is imported, so it is very expensive and now a lot of food is not even available. We are eating mainly bread, rice and pasta. We don't have meat or chicken. We have some old cheese left. Our money is running out.

"I have bad arthritis in both legs. Injections for the pain used to be US$10 each, but now they are 50. Although I feel better now I am in the HelpAge office and I have seen the staff. I feel strong again because I can help people.

"I am in the HelpAge office and I am helping to identify older people in need so we can give them cash for medicines, food and other things they need."

How you can help

In the UK:

If you are in the UK, please donate to our sister organisation, Age International:

  • Go to the Age International website.
  • Call 0800 032 0699 on Mon-Fri 9am-5pm or donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque.
  • Text URGENT to 70004 to donate GBP 5*.

Outside the UK:

If you are outside the UK, you can donate directly to HelpAge International via our website.

*Age International, who is a DEC member, fundraises on behalf of HelpAge International in the UK. Text Costs £5.00 plus network charge. Age International receives 100% of your £5 donation. Obtain bill payers permission. Call 0800 032 0699 for more information. ‘Age International’ is a restricted fund of Age UK (charity no.1128267) set up to support the work of Age International (charity no.1128267-8)’

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Author profile

Abed Errahman Shehada
Country: Gaza

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.