Humanitarian Intervention in the West Bank
With international attention recently focused on Gaza, desperation in the West Bank is often overlooked. Shepherding communities living in zone C in Tubas district (under Israeli control) are facing freezing temperatures and an extended period of drought with limited resources. The region received 23% less rainfall this year with significant consequences for the pastures where sheep graze—the main source of income in the region.
- Shepherding communities have become indebted and acutely vulnerable due to the increased market costs of animal fodder
- Action Against Hunger / Action Contre la Faim’s (ACF) emergency response targets 2,500 people
“It is difficult seeing children in this difficult situation,” says Elena Bertola, ACF’s Food Security Officer in the Palestinian Territories. “They are walking bare foot on muddy ground; they are living in precarious shelters with leaking roofs. Families are hardly able to obtain basic food items such as bread, oil, or vegetables.” These families are unable to build more permanent shelter in this area under Israeli military control, and have had no choice but to either sell some of their animals or indebt themselves to be able to buy fodder. In addition, they are living with restricted access to grazing land and are under constant threat of having to leave the area.
ACF’s teams, in collaboration with other humanitarian organizations, are working to improve the situation and have launched emergency programs in coordination with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). ACF has currently distributed 248 stoves, more than 1,600 blankets, 8,900 liters of kerosene (sufficient for 20 families) and tarpaulins for shelters in twelve distinct communities.
“The population was relieved to receive this aid, despite it being minimal, especially considering that the response was very quick. Within just five days of carrying out a needs assessment, ACF had launched its programs,” comments Elena.
The emergency intervention complements other ACF activities in the Palestinian Territories, including programs to improve access to food in the West Bank, the creation of commercial links between Palestinian peasants and Israeli traders, and the rehabilitation of water points in the Gaza Strip.