Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth, with approximately 1.8 million people confined to an area 40 km long and 10 km wide. Israeli military control and Egyptian border restrictions limit the movement of people and goods. Mission & Service partner the Near East Council of Churches reported that in 2014 about half a million people had to flee their homes. Two hundred thousand homes in Gaza were destroyed or made uninhabitable. Access to water has been severely restricted and sanitation systems damaged. It is estimated that in 2014 between 1,000 to 3,000 people were permanently disabled. The number of people with mental and psychosocial problems is increasing exponentially. Thirty international aid agencies agreed with this analysis, signing a statement in 2015 that reported, “Most residents are unable to meet their food requirements, and over seven years of blockade had severely compromised access to basic services, including health, water, and sanitation. “Bearing the brunt of this suffering are the most vulnerable, including the elderly, persons with disabilities, women and nearly one million children, who have experienced unimaginable suffering in three major conflicts in six short years. Children lack access to quality education, with over 400,000 of them in need of immediate psychosocial support.” The Near East Council of Churches offers training programs such as welding and dressmaking to young people, as well as grants for graduate degrees to university students. Please join me in making Mission & Service giving a regular part of your life of faith.
Loving God, we are called to be your colours in the world, to walk with each other, to share in love through our gifts for Mission & Service. Guide us to shine brightly in the world. Amen