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The vital training continues

Usually, their job is to teach the people of Gaza preparedness and protection during bombings. Now, they have their hands full staying alive. In the meantime, Norwegian People's Aid uses social media to offer Gaza's civilian population a small fraction of security. The response has been tremendous.

CPP Gaza messages
Left: children’s emergency contact card in case they get lost or separated from the group. Right: white phosphorus safety warning.
Colin Bent 4
Head of NPA's CPP programme, Colin Bent. Photo: Ludvig Gundersen

"It is painful to think that good colleagues and their families, with whom I have had dinner at home many times, live in such undignified conditions. I know that many of them are starving, and that every day is a struggle to meet basic needs," he says.

Everything is gone

As an added burden for those who have fled comes the concern for houses and homes that they have left. Before the ceasefire came into force on 24 November, half of all homes in Gaza had been destroyed to a greater or lesser extent by war.

Bent says that at an early stage of the war, one of the employees was told that his block had been bombed. To all intents and purposes, the missile had failed to detonate, and was left in the building like a ticking time bomb. However, the chance that there is capacity to remove a large, unexploded ordnance from a building is low, as it is far too risky to carry out clean-up operations in Gaza now. It is far more likely that the IDF will bomb again to complete the mission.

"What's sad about this particular story is that the entire extended family lived together in different apartments in the building. They had invested everything they had to be able to live together in this way. Now all of the assets that the family has worked up over several generations have probably been torn away, he said.

NPA's Conflict Preparedness and Protection programme