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MCC responds to crisis conditions in Gaza

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Akron, Pa.

In the midst of air strikes, ground battles, and a rising death toll, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) partner organizations in Gaza are distributing food, water, and blankets to Gazans who have lost their homes.

On Jan. 6, MCC approved an emergency response package that brings the monetary value of MCC’s humanitarian responses in Gaza in 2008 and early 2009 to almost $345,000.

The latest emergency response includes shipping a large container of blankets and relief kits to Gaza and providing $30,000 for local purchase of food and other urgently needed supplies. While MCC’s partner organizations in Gaza cannot currently receive funds because banks are closed due to the war, they are purchasing supplies on credit and distributing them to families whose homes have been destroyed.

Before Israel’s military operations began on Dec. 27, 2008, humanitarian conditions were already desperate in Gaza due to an 18-month economic blockade, according to Rick Janzen, a director of MCC’s programs in the Middle East and Europe. Thousands of homes have been damaged, and it has become increasingly difficult for families to stay in them given the cold weather.

In addition to humanitarian assistance, MCC is calling for prayers for peace and advocating for the governments of Canada and the U.S. to work for an end to the fighting.

—Gladys Terichow

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