This is a different update from what we originally planned to give, as since July 8, Gaza has been under almost constant attack from Israeli bombing and shelling, and Khan Younis, where “our” unit is located at Atfal Al-Ghad (Children of Tomorrow) pre-school and Kindergarten, has been particularly devastated.
Deborah Agre from our partner Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) told us in mid-August that they don’t yet have a report on the water units there, as the primary concern right now is keeping people safe, recovering the dead and treating the injured. What they do know is that the UNWRA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) schools in which the units are installed have been used as shelter for families fleeing bombs and needing shelter when their homes were destroyed, many of which were themselves bombed. Units that were built to serve hundreds of children during school hours have had to put out clean water for tens of thousands of people, 24 hours/day if they are working at all. MECA does not know yet how the units are performing at so far above capacity.
We have pictures of kids drinking clean water from the unit Spokane folks purchased in partnership with MECA. This grassroots project was prompted by the school children of Gaza, who, when asked what they most wanted for their school, answered overwhelmingly, “clean water”. Now, of course, the need is so very much greater and today, we don’t know how any of these children are.
After the $4000 for our unit was raised from PJALS contributors and fundraising activities, it was sent to MECA. It took a while to make the unit, all of them designed and constructed by Palestinians in Gaza, from 80% local materials.
Building the units is not easy, as Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007 and construction materials are difficult to obtain. After construction, the unit is then placed and pictures taken, a process further stalled by frequent attacks by Israeli bombs and drones. Khan Younis has been a frequent target of the military operations, even before this latest assault. Thus the delay in receiving our pictures.
The Palestine-Israel Human Rights Committee (PIHRC) meets the 2nd and 4th Thursdays, 3:00 p.m. in the Community Building, 35 W. Main, Spokane. For more information, call 509-838-7870 or email [email protected].