Severe weather patterns in the Gaza Strip and Malawi are wreaking havoc on the lives of those in the respective regions, leading to an urgent need for humanitarian supplies. The weather conditions have resulted in numerous deaths across the two countries, and have left thousands more displaced.
Gaza, as well as other parts of the Middle East has been hit in recent weeks by heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures, which have taken a particular toll on refugees and the destitute. Nowhere else has the effects of these conditions been more devastating than in the tiny coastal strip, still reeling from a 60-day war with Israel in 2014.
In Malawi, at least 70 000 civilians have been forced to flee their homes as a result of torrential rainfall, which has led to severe flooding in the already poverty stricken nation. A further 48 people have perished as a result of the flooding, with infrastructure also badly damaged. This had led to the country’s government declaring half the region a ‘disaster zone’, further appealing for aid from the international community.
Operational on both areas, local humanitarian NGO, Gift of the Givers have been actively trying to assist those most affected by the two crises. Founder Imtiaz Sooliman, said it was strange and unfortunate that both countries were suffering from such weather problems. Having visited the Gaza Strip as recently as last year, he shared sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians.
“Before I left, I said that my biggest concern for you people is going to be winter. You don’t have any more buildings, so many homes have been destroyed, and you’re all living in outdoor shelters and schools. Once the school (year) starts, you are all going to have to move out, and then where are you going to live?” he explained.
Despite Gaza’s position in Islamic culture as the ‘blessed land’, he said it took people of a special type personality and character to live there.
“Allah only chose a special people to live there. To have this kind of difficulty (the war) once is enough for a lifetime,” he said.
“What about the daily struggle of the occupation, or the difficulty in going to work, or the blockade. It is a daily struggle. Not enough medical equipment and supplies, you can’t go in and out of the country, what kind of a life is that?”
In the case of Malawi, Sooliman sought to emphasis the countries already difficult living condition, noting that the rain and flooding would likely have destroyed a vast percentage of the country’s crops. This was sure to lead to famine in the region.
“Malawi is a very poor country, so even if there were no floods it was a disaster already. The economy has suffered so much in the last year; people have suffered so much,” he said.
The needs of both areas differ somewhat, with monetary donations most sort after in Gaza. Those funds will be used to purchase blankets, warm clothing, food, heating apparatus, as well as building material. Whilst financial contributions are needed in Malawi, GOTG have also requested physical donations in the form of non-perishable foods, blankets, plastic sheeting and cooking utensils.
Those seeking to donate to the respective causes may contact the GOTG toll-free number at 0800 786 911. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)