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RCA helps hundreds ward off hunger in besieged Jericho

posted on 15/11/2004: 730 views



Jericho: Jericho as well as other Palestinian territories under constant Israeli siege must be declared disaster areas, relief workers said. People in those areas face hunger on a daily basis, they said. Life in Jericho city has come to a standstill. The city which had a vibrant economy was known as a trading and tourism hub due to its proximity to beaches on the Dead Sea.



In recent days, tourists have stayed away from the city and other areas due to lack of security. Hamed Al Sheikh, Chairman of the Jericho Zakat Committee, said: "Due to the severe economic situation brought about by the continuous siege, the city must be declared a disaster area."



The UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA), to ease the burden of people, has facilitated relief operations through the Zakat committees and orphanages in Jericho as well as other Palestinian villages. The authority has also been distributing food coupons and packages to poor Palestinians.



Al Sheikh said they have have been distributing 30 aid packages on a daily basis to poor families in Jericho. More than 1,000 families have benefited from RCA's assistance. The package includes rice, edible oil, sugar, tea, flour and other foodstuff.



Al Sheikh said: "Jericho is one of the cities in dire need of food assistance due to Israeli siege and atrocities." Jericho's residents expressed gratitude for the assistance given by the RCA to the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, chairperson of the UAE Woman's Association and Honorary Chair of the RCA.



Hamed Al Sharabi, who supports a 10-member family in Jericho, said of the aid package: "This is welcome relief which would probably last for three more days. At least we'll have something for the Eid. After that, we're not sure."



Uncertainty and sheer challenge of survival affects thousands of families in the city.

RCA assistance covers West Bank and Gaza, where Iftar was served for a large number of worshippers on every day of Ramadan.



Khalid Saadu, paralysed by wounds inflicted by Israeli police and supporting a nine-member family, said: "RCA's assistance has eased our burden." His mother who received assistance on his behalf also expressed gratitude to Sheikha Fatima. Sheikh Hareb Bilal, Chairman of the Orphans Committee in Jericho, also thanked the UAE's leadership and people for their generosity. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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