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Egypt

The Challenge of Feeding a Family in Gaza

The Challenge of Feeding a Family in Gaza

By Rania Elhilou, Communications Officer

ANERA – Gaza City

December, 2010:  Randa Al-Jarousha has seven children. Her husband is jobless. He used to work in construction but he got sick and lost his job.  Even if he gets better, his chances of finding another construction job are slim since building materials are in short supply.

Most days, Randa sends her son to school without breakfast and relies on the fortified snacks offered in the Milk for Preschoolers program run by ANERA, “At least I know my son Mohammed can get milk and biscuits every day. Milk is too expensive for me now and I can’t afford to give him protein-rich food like eggs or meat.”  A neighbor recently donated three little chickens, which Randa is raising and eventually will cook for her children.

Randa is not alone.  The jobless rate now is estimated at 50 percent, one of the world’s highest.  That means one out of two Palestinian workers in Gaza cannot find a job.

Somehow they still need to put food on the table.  But the price of food is soaring.

A bag of small pita breads costs about $2.  A family of seven would need a bag of bread every day but that would cost $14 and without an income, mothers like Randa must do without. She just shakes her head, “Shopping in the market now is a nightmare.”

With no or very little resources, how often can a mother buy a kilo of potatoes at $1.50? Or, a kilo of tomatoes, at $1.50, triple what it cost last summer.  A kilo of rice now runs about $2.50. It was only $2 six months ago. A kilo of meat would cost at least $15 – a rare luxury that some families might be able to enjoy every four months or so.

A can of powdered milk runs about $4 and will feed one child for a week.  So, most mothers buy larger packages of powdered milk, which can feed more for less.  But a kilo of powdered milk will cost more than $13, depending on the quality.  So, mothers resort to diluting the milk with a lot of water, which might satisfy their youngster’s thirst but not his nutritional intake.  Fresh milk at $2.70 a liter is beyond most budgets.

I now see children scavenging in the garbage to collect plastic bottles and other bits and pieces that they can sell in the market to help their parents buy food.

It’s true that we are less dependent on products smuggled through the tunnels from Egypt now that more products are coming in legally from Israel.  But that doesn’t mean we can afford them.

Little has changed for families here.  And for most, life is just getting harder.

- end -

ABOUT ANERA:  For more than 40 years, ANERA has been a leading provider of development, health, education and employment programs to Palestinian communities and impoverished families throughout the Middle East.  In FY 2009, the relief and development agency delivered more than $50 million of programs to the people of the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan. For more information, go to www.anera.org

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Discussion

20 Responses to “The Challenge of Feeding a Family in Gaza”

  1. Why are "products smuggled through the tunnels from Egypt"?
    Why Arabs need to "smuggle" products from an Arab state? Why can't Gazans go to Egypt to work? People from Sudan come to Israel through Egypt to work.
    How cruel are you Arabs, to your own?

    Posted by StreetTruth | January 5, 2011, 2:54 am
  2. 1-If Egypt opens to the borders two things will happen, US and Israel will be mad at Egypt and thus cut their aid to Egypt. Second, the moment Egypt opens the door full, Israel could walk away and say, ok Egypt should help Gaza, even though they are the ones who are putting it under virtual occupation. In other words, Israel can say, look we in not in charge of Gaza, even though they are shooting anywhere that goes into the sea, and shoot anyone that works near the farm land anywhere near the borders. And do not forget the Israeli drones, that decorate Gaza's sky. Also, Egypt has a huge unemployment, so that won't help anyone.

    Posted by hanitizer | January 5, 2011, 8:20 am
    • WikiLeaks: Mubarak “hates Hamas, and considers them the same as Egypt’s own Muslim Brotherhood, which he sees as his own most dangerous political threat.”

      Posted by Ooo | January 5, 2011, 9:57 am
    • hani tizer, Israel is "not in charge of Gaza". Arabs are in charge.
      You admit Arabs are cruel. The only nation that would not help their own and blame others, is the Arab nation. Any other nation given the situation, would open the border. Gaza is not an enemy of Arabs. Gaza is not firing rockets at Cairo, or any Egyptian towns.
      "do not forget the Israeli drones"
      There are American drones over Pakistan.

      Posted by StreetTruth | January 5, 2011, 10:55 am
  3. <I now see children scavenging in the garbage to collect plastic bottles and other bits and pieces that they can sell in the market to help their parents buy food.>

    If that is not heart wrenching, I don' know what is!

    When I was the age of those Palestinian children in the photos, I did the very same thing living in one of the refugee camps in Lebanon. Now God has blessed me with health, work , freedom and safety, I was able to help one family in Gaza right after the Cast Lead Massacres with money, medical supplies. I used my US contact in the West Bank and US delegation who was lucky enough to enter Gaza.

    What Egypt and Israeli are doing to the People of Gaza is truly evil. If you wanted to help make a difference instead of feeling sorry for them or blaming Joe Blow for the misery, You could contact the auther and the organization she works for. They have contact information in the US.. Simply google Rania's name orANERA

    A donation of $ 5, 10, 20 or whatever you can afford will go a long way. Your conscience would be clear when you go to sleep at night and God will reward in this lif the the hereafter. Thank you and God bless.

    Posted by Mahmoud El-Yousseph | January 5, 2011, 10:18 am
  4. The United States is also committed to continuing assistance for basic human needs in both the West Bank and Gaza, including emergency food, health care, and access to safe water and sanitation systems. In Gaza, USAID works closely with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and local and international nongovernmental organizations.

    Posted by spitfire | January 6, 2011, 8:04 pm
    • If the US stopped arming Israel they would be doing much better for the Palestinians than sending them cash and the Israelis death dealing machinery. Cut Israel off. Let America tend to its own people and send money to Palestine, doing both would be much cheaper than it is now sending so much to that rogue nation.

      Posted by Noor | January 16, 2011, 6:58 pm
  5. This 'article' is nothing but a plug for ANERA. They may be a great organization and all, but that's all this is.

    Posted by shookie | January 10, 2011, 3:38 pm
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    Posted by Eveline Deprofio | January 17, 2011, 4:33 pm
  8. US and Israel will be mad at Egypt and thus cut their aid to Egypt. Second, the moment Egypt opens the door full.web designers in long island

    Posted by alvin | May 9, 2013, 2:19 pm
  9. A can of powdered milk runs about $4 and will feed one child for a week. So, most mothers buy larger packages of powdered milk, which can feed more for less

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  14. A kilo of meat would cost at least $15 – a rare luxury that some families might be able to enjoy every four months or so.

    Posted by Zacharia | December 14, 2013, 12:54 pm
  15. A neighbor recently donated three little chickens, which Randa is raising and eventually will cook for her children.

    Posted by Tahmina | January 6, 2014, 6:37 am

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