Gaza – A message on Aisha Abu Obaid’s mobile phone in early May struck her like thunder. The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) will stop providing her with monthly food vouchers next month, the newspaper said.
“I felt like my soul was leaving me,” said the mother of seven to an unemployed husband. “This coupon covered my family’s basic monthly food needs. I look forward to receiving it at the beginning of each month.”
For a year and a half, Aisha’s family received food vouchers worth $108 a month from the United Nations WFP, which covered their basic needs for food and vegetables. On May 11, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said in a statement that 200,000 Palestinian beneficiaries, nearly 60%, would be without food aid by June due to severe funding shortfalls.
The funding shortfall has already forced the WFP to cut its cash aid by about 20% this month. And without funding, the agency will be forced to suspend operations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza by August.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” WFP President and Palestine Country Director Sameer Abdel-Jaber told Al Jazeera. “To ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable families are met, we have no choice but to make the most of our limited resources. Without food aid, they would starve.”
He said WFP urgently needed $51 million to sustain its support for Palestine until the end of the year. For families like Aisha’s, that aid is a key lifeline for survival in a never-ending storm of crisis linked to Israel’s illegal occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Days after receiving a UN WFP alert on her mobile phone, Aisha’s home was destroyed in the latest escalation in the Gaza Strip. On the afternoon of May 13, as she was sitting with her children, screams were heard outside her house calling for neighbors to evacuate their homes.
“I got so scared I went out to see my relatives leave the house. They told me they had been warned that the house across from us was going to be bombed,” she recalled. “I immediately gathered my children and ran to my relative’s house.”
After her home was bombed, Aisha, her husband and children returned home to find it mostly reduced to rubble.
“The world got smaller”
“It’s very heartbreaking,” Aisha said with tears in her eyes. “It feels like the world has shrunk before our eyes. We have no source of income, we have lost the meal vouchers that barely fed our children’s food needs…and now we are are losing their homes.”
Aisha said the saddest thing about her 14-year marriage was not even being able to plan for her children’s future. “We are busy securing our daily livelihoods here. There is no room for the future,” she said.
“Where are we going in this life?” she asked angrily.
Aisha graduated in History and her husband Suliman has a degree in Psychological Counseling. But finding a good job in Gaza is just as difficult as finding affordable food for her family. Her unemployment rate has hit 45.3 percent, and two of her three are struggling to buy food.
“There are no job opportunities for young people and graduates,” said 37-year-old Suliman. She is currently trying to find part-time work as a builder, carpenter or porter. “Whenever I get the chance.”
“I hope this threatening decision will be considered,” Aisha said. “It drives me crazy to think about how I’m going to feed seven children.”
Aisha and her family are currently living in a rented house until the house is renovated. “We left home with just the clothes we were wearing. We lost all our furniture and belongings,” Suliman said.
“Welcome to life in Gaza,” he said. “When hunger, poverty and war overlap.”
The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) agreed in a May statement, saying, “Vulnerable families in Gaza and the West Bank are being pushed to their limits by the combined effects of deteriorating security, economic downturns and rising costs of living. It is,” he said. Food insecurity is on the rise. ”
1.84 million Palestinians, or 35% of the population, do not have enough food.
“We urge government donors and the private sector to continue their support for WFP during this difficult time,” Abdel Jaber said. “Thanks to continued donor support, we were able to provide a lifeline to the Palestinian people and build sustainable food solutions in Palestine. I need to make sure it doesn’t.”
“Day of Remembrance”
In a dilapidated house in the Jabalia camp in northern Gaza, Sama Al-Khanu is still trying to accept the “shocking” message that his monthly food vouchers have been discontinued.
“I have had this voucher for 10 years. It relieves me of the burden of providing basic food every month,” said Al Kanoo, 45, who lives with her sick 66-year-old husband and four children. said.
She waits impatiently for coupons worth about $75 at the beginning of each month. She goes to the supermarket next to her house early in the morning to cash money. “It was a day of remembrance for me when I received the letter,” she told Al Jazeera. “My blood pressure spiked because I spent the whole day crying.”
Al-Khanu said they were unable to fund their children’s college education “despite their intelligence.” Without a college education, his children earn less than $100 a month.
“At least with the voucher, I can cover my basic needs at home,” she said, pointing to a barrel of flour that was about to run out. “But what am I going to do today? How am I going to feed my family?”
“Sometimes I wish everyone was dead.”