23.07.2014 / For immediate release
Crisis in Gaza is boosting donations and calls for clarity on fund distribution
The violence in Gaza since the Israel ground invasion has prompted thousands of people to donate to charities working in the region. The growing need to help the people of Gaza which is coming from a wide range of faiths and communities in the UK is accompanied by calls to show exactly how charities are spending the money. Othman Moqbel the Chief Executive of Human Appeal says he is determined to demonstrate complete transparency so you know exactly where your money is being spent.
British based charities collecting funds to help the people of Gaza caught up in the recent violence are reporting an unprecedented rise in the rate of donations - notably from donors outside the Muslim community.
Some are also saying the response to specific appeals is coming in at a greater level to similar fundraising activity for the crisis in Syria.
The recent escalation in the past week following a ground offensive by Israeli troops has seen millions of pounds raised in response to television and online appeals and organised fundraising events.
Human Appeal is one of the leading aid organisations sending food and medical supplies to Gaza.
"We are raising money for a number of causes across the globe during Ramadan and our work continues with a number of initiatives across the year," says Othman Moqbel the Chief Executive of Human Appeal. "However, it is the response to the crisis in Gaza which is most noticable."
Moqbel also highlights a rise in concern amongst donors over how the money is being spent with many of them demanding more information to demonstrate funds are reaching the right people. "Transparency in the way funds are distributed is key," says Moqbel.
So far Human Appeal has sent twenty tonnes of medical supplies and medicines to the region. These were originally scheduled to provide A&E centres and intensive care units across the territory. However, supplies are being focused on Al-Shifa Hospital which is now the only purpose built medical centre left operating.
The charity has also distributed 12,000 Ramadan meals to families which have had their homes destroyed or damaged. A further 1,600 food parcels will have been handed out by the end of the week.
Human Appeal has also take the decision to distribute small handouts of money to homeless families. These grants were given to 210 families who lost their homes in the fighting.
"We are only distributing the equivalent of a few pounds to these people but this makes a huge difference when you need to get water and food and makeshift shelter for your family." says Moqbel.
Human Appeal is also highlighting the complex processes it needs to undertake with various other agencies in order to ensure aid gets delivered. "We rely on permission from the Egyptian authorities to gain access to Gaza in the South and we also work with United Nations operation in Gaza through UNRWA to ensure we can get aid into the region.
"We are now concentrating on aid supplies reaching the North of the Gaza Strip. This relief effort can only survive through collaboration and requires a joint effort on a massive scale. ," says Moqbel.
Human Appeal works alongside other charities of all faiths. Cooperation with the UN forms a vital link between aid supplies and the people who need them.
Getting food, water and medical supplies to thousands who need it can often only happen with the approval of the Israeli authorities who control which organisations can distribute aid to the area.
"This is the tragic irony of the situation but all the charities and aid organisations here need to work like this to ensure aid is getting through," says Imad Al-Haddad, the Country Director for Human Appeal in Gaza. He heads a team of five emergency staff who are working around the clock to keep aid flowing.
A second team of medical workers from Human Appeal is operating 24/7 in three shifts at Al-Shifa Hospital. Each shift is made up of 12 paramedics. Medical supplies, IV stands, surgical kits and blankets are also being sent to the hospital by Human Appeal. More than five thousand people have also been provided with portable, safe water at UNRWA shelters.
"The need for funds is increasing as the crisis deepens," says Moqbel. "We will carry on making our appeals and raising money. So will many more charities and aid organisations who need to work in unison to help alleviate the suffering. We recognise the scale of this tragedy and the importance of ensuring we are able to account for the way the funds we raise are spent. Donors demand this and we must always be transparent."
"We were shocked that while all this work is going on, an editorial in the Jewish Chronicle last week called on the aid organisation and charities to stop sending supplies and build bomb shelters instead. We have called on the editor of that publication to debate this thinking behind this suggestion. Clearly, it is aid which the people of Gaza need and if the bombing stopped, there would be no need for shelters," says Moqbel.
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Notes to editors
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