UNICEF Distributes Water and Recreation Kits
By Reem Tarazi
GAZA, July 2006 - Around 110 children and their families in northern Gaza have been stuck in their homes without clean water or electricity since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict engulfed their small village, Seafa, last month.
Parents, who keep their children locked indoors because they fear they will be killed if they go out to play, say the children are terrified. Aid workers estimate there has been a 15 to 20 per cent increase in the number of children wetting their beds.
Rania Al Ghoul, a mother of four, said her children live in constant fear. “My children have nightmares, wet their beds and are always scared of the dark. Every time my children hear the shelling and sonic booms they put their hands on their ears and start screaming,” she said.
To enable children to keep playing even when confined indoors by the ongoing violence, UNICEF distributed recreational kits – including stationary, coloring books, coloring pens, rackets and balls – to the 32 families in Seafa.
“When we play outside the shrapnel of military tank shells are scattered around us,” said Ahmad Al Ghoul, 10. “As soon as shelling takes place we become very scared and run into the houses,” he said.
Along with the recreation kits, UNICEF also distributed water kits including soap, buckets, collapsible water tanks, and purification tablets.
Despite Israel’s decision to withdraw from Gaza last August, Seafa has had little reprieve from military control.
On 28 December, Seafa was bombarded with leaflets urging residents to evacuate and declaring the area a no-go zone. Since then, a curfew has prevailed.
Life became much harder on 28 June, when outright hostilities broke out. Much of the village has been without power and safe water since.
The kits were funded by the European Commission for Humanitarian Office (ECHO)
UNICEF emergency activities in Gaza also include: