Zakat Foundation Partners with U.N. to Rebuild Gaza
(Chicago, IL, 6/15/16) – The Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) recently launched a program with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to repair and reconstruct 500 destroyed or severely damaged homes in the Gaza Strip. Two years after the summer conflict of 2014, which completely destroyed over 18,000 homes and severely damaged upwards to 140,000, about 50,000 families have yet to receive rental or repair support and at least 100,000 individuals are still displaced, according to the UNRWA.
Reconstruction efforts in Gaza have been slow to get underway. The ongoing blockade, now entering its tenth year, makes entry difficult, and all relief operations are funded solely through voluntary contributions. The frequent cycles of war, destruction, and reconstruction have decimated the infrastructure of the tiny, overpopulated strip of land, which is about twice the size of Washington D.C. but contains the sixth highest population density in the world. Unemployment among youth and the population as a whole are at critical levels, 68% and 42% respectively, while a full 71% of the total population are considered refugees, as estimated by the UNRWA.
“Our life was beautiful and simple in this house, before the last war,” said Ramez, the father of a displaced family, speaking to a ZF representative in Gaza. “When the first missile hit, we had to evacuate, “ he recounted, “and we were terrified to see that the house beside ours had fallen on our house, demolishing it.”
“Now our children are suffering from war trauma, but if Allah wills, He will honor us. And our city’s condition will become better. We hope to repair the house and live in it again.”
ZF aims to demonstrate how efficient partnerships between humanitarian NGOs can overcome the challenges that hinder relief efforts for distressed populations in zones of acute conflict. For more information, please view one of our documentary videos, or contact us by email or phone for details about ZF’s on-the-ground experience and impressions of life in Gaza.
CONTACT: ZF Public Relations Coordinator, Jamie Merchant, (708)233-0555, [email protected]