The growing violence in Gaza City has now spread into Lebanon, causing over 430 fatalities in the region. More than 400,000 people evacuated their homes and sought shelter in various schools around the region. There is no electricity in the area, making it near impossible for people to attain food and clean water. Numerous security checkpoints are also making it difficult for people to get to the necessary medical facility to receive care. With danger of military attacks imminent on every corner, reaching life-saving supplies has become a matter of life and death for the people in Lebanon.
Episcopal Relief and Development is working with our partner, Action by Churches Together (ACT) to secure emergency supplies to the most affected people in Saida, Mount Lebanon, Tripoli, Beirut, and Beqaa. Through implementing partners, Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and the Inter Church Network for Development and Relief in Lebanon (ICNDR), ERD is providing food, medicine as well as cleaning and hygiene supplies to over 12,000 people. The number of people needing assistance is expected to increase as the fighting continues.
"The ‘situation, 'as it is called here, continues to deteriorate," said Michael Tedrick, an Episcopal missionary stationed in Jerusalem.
"Estimates of a half million or more refugees from Lebanon will put more strain on an already inadequate humanitarian aid response in the region…It is this human suffering—Christ's suffering—that deepens my commitment to be here."
In Gaza, the lack of clean water is causing an outbreak of cholera. Because of an electrical outage, the three main treatment plants that separate sewage from the water supply are not functioning. The Al Ahli Arab hospital reports that children are already coming to the hospital showing symptoms of the disease. Currently, the hospital is barely keeping up with the influx of patients seeking medical attention. There is a dangerous shortage of medicine and coupled with the number of patients who are unable to pay for services.
Episcopal Relief and Development has already sent emergency assistance to Al Ahli Arab hospital in mid July but the continued unrest in the Gaza strip has made additional aid crucial to the people: Many are suffering from lack of food and water. "We are in a real humanitarian crisis," said Muhammad Ali Hassan, a social worker at the Al Ahli hospital. ERD plans to send additional assistance to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in order to provide the hospital and its staff with the necessary medicine and supplies.
To help people affected by this disaster, please make a donation to the Middle East Crisis Fund at http://www.er-d.org, or call 800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to Episcopal Relief and Development, designated for the "Middle East Crisis Fund," PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101. Please share our bulletin insert with your parish.
Episcopal Relief and Development is the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church of the United States. An independent 501(c) (3) organization, ERD saves lives and builds hope in communities around the world. We provide emergency assistance in times of crisis and rebuild after disasters. We enable people to climb out of poverty by offering long-term solutions in the areas of food security and health care, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.