You may have seen some of the recent headlines about the worsening water crisis in Gaza as Israel bombs civilian infrastructure including water networks. We wanted to share with you how your support for the Maia Project is making a concrete difference for families in Gaza during this terrible time.
More than 200,000 people in Gaza are currently living in emergency shelters after their homes were destroyed or their neighborhoods became too dangerous. Many of these shelters are UN schools were MECA has installed water purification and desalination units.
MECA Project Director in Gaza wrote:
"When I think about these families sleeping in the schools it makes me really sad. Just a few weeks ago, MECA was planning to support summer camps for children in the UN schools and our water purification and desalination units were going to serve the summer camps. But now, more than one hundred thousand people are living in these UN schools with their families. With the water crisis worsening under the bombing, I’m so glad that in 16 of the schools, our water units are providing clean water for the families."
Safaa El-Derawi, an environmental engineer working as MECA's project assistant in Gaza, has been in touch with each school where we have a water unit to make sure the units are working properly and providing safe, clean water to families. Here is a list of UN schools sheltering families in Gaza provided to Safaa last week. The number of displaced families and schools where Maia Project units has increased since then but Safaa hasn't been able send us the updated list as it is too dangerous for her to go to the office and she has very irregular internet and electricity from home.
We also wanted to mention that we have set up a special page on Global Giving to collect funds for emergency relief in Gaza. Our team is distributing food, milk, and hygiene kits to displaced families. And we are providing funds for hospitals and clinics throughout Gaza to purchase vital medicine to treat the injured and sick. There are now more than 6000 people injured in Gaza by Israel's assault, 1/3 of them children according to the latest UN figures, and hospitals are running short of supplies. Additionally with the overcrowding in emergency shelters, the sanitation is poor and is causing diarrhea in children and the spread of other diseases. Please consider a donation to our emergency relief fund: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-aid-for-children-in-gaza/
With your support, the Maia Project continues to grow and provide safe, clean water to children in the Gaza Strip. We are thrilled to report that this summer 13 new water purification and desalination units will be built and installed in schools and kindergartens including one at a school for the visually impaired.
We are also working hard to ensure the 52 water purification units built in previous years continue to provide safe, clean water to 50,000 children. MECA's Gaza Project Assistant, Safaa El-Derawi, regularly visits the schools and kindergartens to test the water quality and troubleshoot and request repairs if there are any issues.
We have also continued our efforts to educate children about the water crisis in Gaza, the potential dangers of the contaminated water, and how these purification units work. This spring, Safaa visited 18 schools and led workshops with students, teachers, and headmasters. As a water engineer, Safaa is very knowledgeable on the subject and able to answer all of the tough questions that come her way. We were excited when she told us that the students asked tons of questions because we know they are learning if they are asking questions!
Thanks to your support, MECA's Maia Project is now providing clean water to more than 50,000 children in Gaza every single day. This fall, we installed 14 new water purification and desalination units in schools and kindergartens bringing the total number of purification units to 52. You can check our website for a full list of locations and beneficiaries.
We're also excited to announce the addition of Safaa El-Derawi to our team in Gaza. Safaa is a water engineer born and raised in the Gaza Strip. She will be making regular visits to all of the schools and kindergartens where we have installed water units to test the water, overseeing any repairs and maintenace necessary, leading workshops about the water crisis in Gaza, and explaining to staff and students the dangers of unpurified water to their health.
The children and their families join MECA in thanking you for supporting this important project!
"There was no drinking water in the school. But now the water is available all the time, and I bring with me a bottle to take clean water with me after leaving school." - Ahmed, Deir Al-Balah Boys Preparatory School
"We thank MECA for providing healthy water for the kids. Previously we used to buy drinking water and often it was salty and we didn’t trust its quality. But now we are certain that our kids are drinking clean and safe water. Sometimes students come from neighboring school to drink from MECA unit." - Headmaster, Rafah Children's Kindergarten
"In the past, the taste of water was unacceptable and there was a chlorine taste, sometimes we were forced to drink it because there is no alternative, but now the water we drink from the desalination plant is tasty and clean. Thank you very much." - Alaa, Rafah Girls Preparatory School
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Director of Gaza Projects