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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:
• Distribution of 5 generators to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) Primary Health Care clinics to ensure vaccines are kept at the right temperature.
• 950 baby and family hygiene kits and 50 tents are pre-positioned with counterparts and ready for distribution
• Distribution of 566  family water kits (for 10 families each) to affected communities
• 13 large water tanks (5,000 liters each) will be provided to Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) and installed on trucks
• Procurement of water quality tests kits enabling the MoH and the municipalities to accurately monitor water quality.
• An awareness raising campaign on hygiene, food and water preservation, targeting most at risk populations, will be launched in partnership with MoH
• UNICEF will support a major Back-to-School campaign, through providing 50,000 school bags with supplies, math and science kits for about 200 schools in Gaza, and training for 1000 teachers
• 888 recreational and school in a box and 45 sport equipment kits are already pre-positioned with counterparts throughout the Gaza strip.
*  Support five child protection teams that reach approximately 3,000 children and 2,000 caregivers each month
• Support a toll free counseling hotline and 20 outreach/community psychosocial centres to reaching an additional 15,000 children and parents per month.
• Support summer festivals enabling 15,000 children to vent stress and engage with their peers in sports, art and cultural activities.
• Support mine risk education activities (printed booklets, TV and radio spots) aiming at reaching a total of 25,000 children (aged 7-12) and their families.
• 112 UNICEF indoor recreational kits have been distributed to families in Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun
• Pre-positioned 100 indoor recreational kits with PCDCR for distribution as needs arise



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