“These parcels are something great,” said a Gazan woman as she peaked inside her Caritas food parcel.
“These food items will last for a while. I am really happy to see the flour and sugar but I am so excited to eat the good quality cheese,” she said.
Caritas is distributing 1000 parcels that contain oil, flour, rice, sugar, tea, tomato paste, meat cans, tuna, sardine, spaghetti, lentils, halaweh, beans, chick peas, milk, and tahina. The food is going to 520 Gazan families who had been cut off from supplies because of the conflict between Israel and Palestinian forces linked to Hamas.
Distribution began on 9 February, but it is a lengthy process, taking staff 11 hours a day to get food to all the families in need.
Caritas is working through its local member Caritas Jerusalem. Amin Sabag, Secretary of Caritas Jerusalem said, ““People expressed much happiness when they were handed the food parcels. They were very appreciative.”
Some families were completely cut off from humanitarian aid for weeks. They had to stay sheltered and when fighting was so intense it was impossible for them to get out of their homes.
The distribution of the food process took much longer than expected due to many procedures and obstacles imposed by Israel.
In order for the food parcels to be delivered into Gaza a long and tedious procedure had to be followed. Caritas Jerusalem had to fill out a request form called CMR (Cargo Movement Request), including the number of pallets, consignee, contents, number of parcels, and the addresses in Gaza had to be filled out.
Then all pallets had to be delivered to UNRWA warehouses in Ramallah and then UNRWA delivers them to their warehouses in Jerusalem. After the pallets arrive at the UNRWA warehouse in Jerusalem they are loaded into their trucks and then sent to Gaza. When the food parcels arrived into Gaza, our Caritas project coordinator Jouma’ Khadoura had to coordinate the unloading and distribution process.
Prior to any distribution in Gaza a list of names was handed out by the Ministry of Social Affairs to NGO’s to assure that the food parcels are reached to the right area zones to avoid duplication.
According to the Caritas Jerusalem project manager Jameel Khoury, this process wastes much time. “Coordinating the delivery of the food packages into Gaza takes much time. The time spent coordinating the delivery of the food parcels many hungry people become more hungry.”