Standing on the rubble of his apartment, Rashad al-Sayed, a Palestinian refugee from Gaza, cries every moment he worked to save money to buy his house: “We thought we were safe in our house. I never imagine losing the house I’ve worked for all my life. There was an explosion nearby while we were sleeping. We couldn’t run.
Rashad and his family lost their home during the May 2021 hostilities in Gaza. The blast also injured all of her family members and left her 24-year-old son Ahmad a quadriplegic when the flat’s roof collapsed on their heads.
The event traumatized the grief-stricken family, who had to start a new chapter of life without a home or a future.
“I went blind 15 years ago and was waiting for my kids to graduate and work to help me. I just finalized all the apartment payments and Ahmad just graduated. [university] as a physiotherapist. He started a temporary job opportunity a month before the outbreak of hostilities. Our lives have been ruined,” Rashad says.
Following the destruction of their apartment, the family is now living in a rented apartment and receiving Transitional Shelter Cash Assistance (TSCA) from UNRWA to help with the payments. Following the May hostilities, a total of 701 households (3,595 people) in Gaza require transitional shelter support, received in the form of cash grants, to cover their immediate shelter needs. shelters. Each family received a one-time cash payment of US$2,000 to cover rental costs for six months and some basic necessities.
To be eligible for TSCA, the Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Gaza established an initial list of families, which were identified as those whose shelters were severely or completely damaged during the escalation. To ensure transparency, an online system has been set up for affected families to submit their applications. This list was then shared with humanitarian actors as part of the shelter cluster. In accordance with its mandates, UNRWA was tasked with managing the number of refugee families.
UNRWA was able to meet the needs of Palestinian refugees directly affected by the hostilities in May thanks to a $2.5 million grant it received from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for UNRWA Flash Appeal: Hostilities in Gaza and Growing Tensions in the West Bank. Of this amount, approximately 70 percent went to TSCA, with the remainder supporting after-school mental health and psychosocial activities and summer school activities in Gaza.
“At least there is something that alleviates the calamity we are going through. UNRWA pays the rental subsidies. It is very helpful until our own house is rebuilt,” Rashad explains.