BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 18:15 GMT
Gaza diary 3: Rana Elhindi
Rana Elhindi, a Save the Children worker in Gaza, continues her diary of the current crisis for the BBC News website.

Rana Elhindi
Rana Elhindi is struggling to keep pace with the needs of this crisis

It's been a busy day in the Save the Children office as my colleagues and I have been out since early this morning finalising the purchasing of water and fuel tankers to transport water supplies to some of the most vulnerable neighbourhoods in Gaza.

Yesterday a colleague informed me of a neighbourhood close to where he lives that has had no water for more than 24 hours.

We have been working with the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, a water company in Gaza, to map out where the greatest need for water is so that we can work at fast tracking supplies to these areas.

Since the blockade the water company has been filling plastic containers with fuel to feed their generator so that water pumps in parts of Gaza keep working. It's an expensive and labour intensive task.

Despite many thousands of people crossing into Egypt yesterday to grab whatever food and essential supplies they could get their hands on, the humanitarian suffering continues.

It's the people who have the money to travel to the border and buy supplies who are the fortunate ones
Earlier when I was out in the market I overheard people talking about the situation and wondering just how long the border with Egypt would stay open.

The fear is that the border will be sealed again soon and then people will be cut off once more from the outside world.

It's the people who have the resources, the money to travel to the border and buy supplies who were the fortunate ones.

There are many, many people in Gaza who simply don't have the money to do this and are left wondering how much longer they can cope with depleted stocks of food.

About half of Gaza's 1.5 million population is forced to live on less than $2 a day and unemployment keeps rising.

Children's needs

The next steps for our aid operation are to deliver hygiene and sanitation supplies to areas affected by pools of sewage.

Water delivers
Gaza residents who can afford to have bought water in containers
We have been out in the local markets trying to see if we can buy supplies of cleaning fluid and other materials from within Gaza while colleagues in Jerusalem and London work out how we can get supplies into the area.

I went back to the toy sellers in the market today to try and purchase more toys for children in the worst hit communities.

I managed to buy a few items but was told that there wasn't much demand from parents to buy toys these days because money is so scarce.

Tomorrow is Friday, when the weekend starts in this part of the world. Already I have a list of things that I need to finish before I leave the office before sunset tonight.

We are in the middle of yet another emergency in Gaza so I doubt I will have much time to relax over the weekend.

On Sunday I've fixed appointments to meet some children in a hard hit community and find out more about their needs.



RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific