World Vision is delivering more than 1,100 emergency kits to families in Gaza still struggling without basic necessities in the wake of the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel.
The distribution got underway on Wednesday after the arrival over the weekend of the aid agency's first relief truck since the bombing began on Dec. 27.
Each kit contains candles and enough food to feed a family for up to a month, as well as a picture brochure printed in Arabic warning families about the dangers of unexploded ordnance.
The kits will support an estimated 9,000 people in southern Gaza's Rafah area where they are being handed out by local World Vision staff. The organization has planned for another shipment to support another 9,000 people in north Gaza this week.
World Vision said the widespread damage to infrastructure and buildings had left people in Gaza in urgent need of food, blankets and candles.
"As we meet these vulnerable households' immediate needs, we also call for conditions that will allow recovery for families throughout Gaza – most urgently for the opening of all border crossings to full capacity to permit humanitarian aid and specialists," said Charles Clayton, National Director of World Vision Jerusalem.
World Vision has already reached more than 3,000 people with food in the last few weeks from its existing emergency relief in Gaza. A shipment of 5,000 blankets is due to arrive this week, followed by hygiene kits.
A recent World Vision study released just prior to the latest conflict reported high rates of trauma among children in Gaza, with more than 16 percent of children between the ages of five and 15 suffering from recurrent nightmares and nearly 13 percent in the same age bracket suffering from bed-wetting caused by anxiety.
World Vision UK's Head of Emergency Affairs, Ian Gray, said the impact on children had worsened during the latest conflict.
"Initial assessment reports from our staff in Gaza suggest children have suffered immensely over the past few weeks; witnessing horrific violence, watching parents die, losing their houses, becoming separated from families and being cut off from access to important social institutions like school," Gray explained.
World Vision will support vulnerable children by setting up child-friendly spaces in both the north and south areas of Gaza, where they can play with other children and begin to process the trauma they have been exposed to.
"Child-friendly spaces are an important first step in the normalizing process for hundreds of children in Gaza, as we try to help mitigate the potential long-term damage done by the recent conflict," said Gray.