ACTNews, GAZA – As winter is approaching, people in the northern hemisphere are wrapping themselves up in sweaters and jackets to fend off cold. With the advance of winter, the temperature dropped to 15⁰ Celsius. It is probably something too cold for people from tropical countries like Indonesia to bear.
Winter in Europe and the United States is related to the holiday season, something that the inhabitants of these two places look forward to with immense joy. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the winter in Gaza.
People of Gaza try to make themselves warm in winter with jackets, blankets and carpets.
The winter also comes with thick clouds over the houses in Gaza, blocking the sunshine and making the temperature even colder.
Gazan-based Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) partners reported that the average temperature at night in Gaza is 14⁰ Celsius. During the day, it becomes slightly warmer as the temperature rise up from 17 to 23⁰ Celsius. According to weather.com, thick clouds will hover above Gaza for the next few weeks until December.
A Gazan child in yellow jacket, living in a zinc-walled house in northern Gaza.
On Monday (11/19), ACT partners in Gaza sent ACTNews pictures showing the condition in Gaza during winter. They were taken in two Beit Lahia in North Gaza and Al-Zaytoun in South Gaza. The photographs depicted people of Gaza trying to endure the cold winter simply with blankets and shabby jackets they have to wear all day even when they are indoor.
If the jackets and blankets do not give them enough warmth, they will sit around a stove to bask in its heat. Meanwhile, outside their houses, thick clouds that hang over Gaza may possibly cause muddy streets or leaking roofs.
In Gaza, the cold wind penetrates through the walls. Stoves become a precious source of heat.
Trying to survive through winter amid blockade in Gaza
Unlike their European counterparts, the people of Gaza have no thick, colorful jackets nor shawls and gloves to protect them from the freezing cold.
Although markets are open and jackets and sweatshirts are available, many of the Gazans are too poor to afford them. ACT partners in Gaza reported that more than half of all two million people in Gaza can’t afford proper winter supplies and clothing.
Life in Gaza is getting more difficult as winter arrives amid economic collapse.
In mid-2018, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics released a report about the rising poverty in Gaza. Around 53% of the total Gazan population is living in poverty. This amount is four times higher than the poverty rate in West Bank that reached only 13.9% of the total population.
ACT partners in Gaza mentioned that the winter affected the poor and unemployed residents of Gaza badly.
Children of Gaza spend their winter days sitting in front of a stove.
“Our partners visited the people in suburban Gaza a few days ago. Their houses were made of zincs. The floor was covered in layers of carpets to prevent the cold from entering the house,” explained Andi Noor Faradiba of Globalk Humanity Response (GHR) – ACT.
A number of pictures sent from Gaza showed the gloomy condition in Gaza. A house in suburban Gaza was built out of bricks, but it virtually served no purpose to protect its residences from cold because there were no windows, no floors, and no heaters.
A house without windows nor tiles. The blockade and high unemployment rate make the winter more difficult in Gaza.
“A father and his three sons were seen sitting on the corner of their house in suburban Gaza. There was nothing inside the house but a shabby cupboard and a thin rug to cover the floor. There was an open room in the house which was inundated after a heavy rain. The room is used to dry the clothes before another rain fell,” said Faradiba describing the photographs.
Clothes and blankets from Indonesia for Gaza
In a few days, winter packages are about to be distributed for the Gazans. Sweatshirts and blankets are among the items that will be handed out from the people of Indonesia.
“Additionally, Insha Allah, heaters, mattresses, and nylon to repair the leaking roofs and walls will also be given. Several Gazan families will also receive rent aid for them to live in a more decent house during this year’s winter,” explained Faradiba.
After a heavy rain, water inundated the open room used to dry clothes.
Bambang Triyono, Director of GHR – ACT further explained that the winter aid program is one of the humanitarian programs that have been initiated by Indonesia for the Palestinians.
“In recent months, Alhamdulillah, Indonesian public kitchen for Gaza has been fully operational. After the end of the winter aid program in November, ACT will supply fuel in the next month to fuel the electric generators and room heaters in Gazan houses,” explained Triyono.
Gaza is covered by darkness and cold due to outage and heavy rains.
As it has been known, electricity in Gaza only runs a few hours a day. In winter, public facilities such as hospitals, schools and mosques in in Gaza rely fully on electric generators for their electricity.