Sunday, February 15, 2009

Surviving in Gaza's Newest Refugee Camps

Photo: Maan Images

Maan News, February 14, 2009 -
....Thousands of Palestinians lost their homes during the war in Gaza, and many now live in encampments like this one, set up by the UN, Red Cross, and local charities. The camps have names like Freedom, Dignity, and Steadfastness. Yet the ideals signaled in their names is betrayed by the miserable conditions in the camps themselves. All of the camps are manifestations of the aftermath of the Israeli war.

In Al-Karamah (Dignity, in English), Palestinian civil defense crews came this week to hose down the dust in order to make the camp livable. Left with little else to do, the children in camp played in the water as it came out of the hoses.

Sheikh Saleh Ma’ruf the spokesman for one of the camps north the Gaza Strip said that another new camp is housing 600 Palestinians at the Ummar Bin Al-Khattab School in the town of Beit Lahiya. At 11am on Wednesday, Ma’an’s correspondent visited the camp, finding it in poor conditions. The relief agency running the camp had not arranged for any food that morning to feed the children in the camp.

“There are many pregnant women in the camp where they stay next to their kids and husbands during the day and go to sleep at their relatives’ houses at night,” Sheikh Ma’ruf said....

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