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Part 2: A day in the life of HelpAge in Gaza

20 Oct 2009

HelpAge's Emergencies Programmes Coordinator, Margaret Chilcott, has reported from Gaza with episodes from her day to day life and work:

We took off for the field, to an area where we have 20 young men and women assessing the conditions and needs of older people. This is part of the DEC Extended Response Programme funding for this project, for which we are collecting house to house data to find the older people who are most in need.

The area is close to the Israeli border and came under attack earlier in the year. It is a very neglected area. As I talked to the young people, I asked them questions about their experiences collecting information.

The two things that stood out in their minds was being fired on from the border with Israel as they went to houses close to the buffer zone, and the fact that some people did not want to give them information, as others had come in the past and nothing had come of it.

The young assessors all said that collecting this data had changed them; some of them found themselves crying from the dire situation of the older people and their living conditions.

We went to visit the 75 year old lady in the photograph, who is living in appalling conditions. She cannot walk very far and when the planes were bombing she couldn't move to safety and everyone left without her. She said she was extremely frightened and didn't know what would happen to her.

The markings on her lower face indicate she is tribal in origin... that is Bedouin. She clearly will be one of the older people included in our programme next month. The programme will have hot food, food baskets, physiotherapy and psychosocial activities.

Read more about HelpAge's work in Gaza

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Margaret Chilcott
Country: Australia
Job title: Emergency Programme Coordinator

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