Gaza crisis: Reaching older people affected

21/08/2014

By Sarah Marzouk

HelpAge International and our local partners on the ground are responding to older people's most urgent needs in Gaza. Salwa, 65, with her hygiene kit. Salwa, 65, with her hygiene kit and members of her family. (c) HelpAge International

HelpAge response

Our response so far has included:

  • Visits by our trained volunteers to communities to talk to older people and identify those most in need.
  • Distributing hygiene kits - containing soap, toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc... - as well as adult diapers to 790 older people.
  • Procuring materials for our kitchen kits, which will include cutlery and crockery, as well as mobility aids, such as wheelchairs and walking sticks.
  • Working with the World Food Programme to ensure that older people are included in their food distribution programme.
  • Working with our Affiliate El Wedad who are focusing on providing psychosocial support for 700 older people who have been affected by the conflict.
  • Preparing an information leaflet in preparation for setting up a helpline for older people to inform them of the services available to them, including health services.

Older people in Gaza

The situation for the tens of thousands who have lost their homes is still extremely precarious, as Alex Bush, our Head of Operations who is currently in Gaza says:

"I don't know what people are going to do about returning home. If you lived in a concrete apartment block and it was bombed, you can't just move back in."

There are over 110,000 older women and men in Gaza aged 55 and above. The majority of older people are very poor, with a recent HelpAge study finding that 75% of older men and women live below the poverty line.

Older people urgently need access to healthcare, shelter, food and clean drinking water, as well as money to be able to purchase the simple basics for daily living and access to appropriate assistance and services.

What next?

In the coming week, we will continue to focus on distributing:

  • hygiene kits
  • mobility aids
  • kitchen kits
  • shelter kits, which will most likely include tarpaulins, rope and basic repair items and tools

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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