DEC Gaza response receives strong review for emergency phase

02/02/2015


• Early investment in rebuilding family incomes lays ground for faster recovery
• Temporary shelter solutions urgently needed for hundreds of thousands 
 
An independent review of the first three months of the DEC’s Gaza response published today found that, despite the challenges facing aid delivery, the work of leading UK charities is successfully reaching people in desperate need.  
 
The majority of funds spent in the initial emergency phase have provided essential food, cash and relief supplies, such as household kits, to people displaced by the violence, which made half a million people homeless and destroyed farmland, factories, water systems, schools and health facilities. 
 
The report recommends a greater investment in temporary shelter solutions now, a particular focus on psychosocial care in the long-term and a continued support for local organisations in Gaza. 
 
DEC appeal Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said:
 
“We couldn’t help people in such urgent need without the support of the British public. Their generosity is having a tangible impact in Gaza and this review shows that people we’re working with value the services they receive. It’s crucial we regularly investigate our work and make sure it’s relevant to the people we’re helping. It has highlighted some gaps we will be filling in the next phase of the response and underlines the huge amount still to be done.
 
“It’s clear that our members’ long history in the region is helping them work well with local organisations and set up complex systems quickly. They will continue to work in Gaza for years to come, providing long-term psychosocial support and rebuilding livelihoods. We will continue to evaluate and learn every step of the way.”
 
The review found that an innovative electronic cash scheme is having a strong impact, benefitting traders and giving people who have often lost everything the freedom to buy what they need to survive from a local shop.
 
Focus groups, project visits and agency interviews found that work was meeting the needs of children and women but advised all agencies to do more to include men, people with disabilities and elderly people in all activities. 
 
Almost two thirds of families did not have enough food to eat before the escalation in conflict, which damaged farmland and killed animals, forcing more than 40,000 people out of work. Today 1.3 million people are in need of food assistance. 
 
DEC member agencies hope early investment in boosting incomes such as cash for work, rehabilitation of greenhouses and poultry houses, and provision of seeds and tools, will help people rebuild their livelihoods more quickly. 
 
Until people are able to support themselves again, DEC agencies are providing food, cash and nutrition services for children. 
 
Psychosocial support to children affected by the conflict was found to be particularly strong and the review noted, “feedback from children attending child friendly spaces was entirely positive.”
 
The urgent need for temporary shelter was a key finding of the review, with a call on agencies to follow the lead of two members providing house relief kits or cash to families hosting displaced people. While other humanitarian agencies are leading the provision of shelter in Gaza, there is more that could be done by DEC organisations in the months to come.  
 
Two DEC organisations are already planning to scale up their shelter activities in the next six months of the response. Advocacy efforts to find permanent solutions for those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed are crucial. 
 
Notes to editors 

  1. The DEC Gaza Crisis Appeal raised £4.5m within the first 24 hours of launch and $15m one month in, including £2m given by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
  2. The DEC brings together 13 leading UK aid charities in times of crisis: Action Aid, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.
  3. Read the Gaza Crisis Appeal Response Review here.