Latest news from Dheisheh Refugee Camp – 16 September, 2010

Here is an update in the water situation in Deheisheh Camp in Bethlehem. Since the 23rd July we have been counting the days when the water is on. It went off that day in the camp and was off for 17 days, and then came on for one day only at the start of Ramadan, on the 9th until the 10th August.  The temperatures at that time were 40 + and water became very short.  It went off again until the 1st September, when it was on for 1 and a half days, and then off until 14th September, and went off at midday today. So water was on for a total of 4 and a half days since 23rd July. ( That’s about 8 wks ) It had caused great hardship as there has been a very hot summer. We have purchased 4 tankers which delivered water during that time when it got very short.  They cost about 52 pounds each, which luckily, I have received in donations from friends, so have been able to help.
The hotel where Yousef works, has been buying a tanker daily, and during busy times has had to buy 2 tankers one at night, and one each morning.
Just to remind you that the Israelis never have their water turned off, and have swimming pools, and water sprinklers for their lawns etc. Their quota is 4 times more than the Palestinians are allowed, and they pay 4 times more for their water than Israelis pay….it is their own water from hte aquiffers under the West Bank, so in effect the Palestinians water is stolen an d then sold back to them at 4 times the price!!
The children all went back to school after the Eid al Fitr on Tuesday. Hala the elder daughter of Yousef, started at Abu Dis University ( Al Quds ) and has quite a long journey to and from there daily, as they have to travel via Wadi Al Narr….the long way round!
Her fees were generously paid by some of the PSC members and some friends. We were informed the cost was half yearly , and what we raised covered travelling expenses to and from Abu Dis.  However, it turned out that the fees are payable 3 times a year. She may get a reduction of up to half of the fees if she achieves high grades in her course work, so we hope she does! She is studying radiology. It’s a problem here, as information seems to change every day! ( Re the fees, and all sorts of other things, Like one day they are told the checkpoint is open so they go, and find it closed.)
The other 3 children in the family also have registration fees to pay, one was 150 nis, and one 120, and the last one was 70 nis. They told me that some of their classmates cannot pay, so may have to stop schooling.  We are waiting to see next week, who cannot pay, and we will help them as I brought some money with me to pay the debts, and there is some over that we were saving for the next feast, but might have to use to help these kids to carry on their schooling..
Each day we hear the news that ‘3 were shot with a tank missile in Beit Hanoon in Gaza,’ and’ 2 were killed when the Israelis bombed the tunnel in Rafah,’ and of course others were injured. ‘ 3 were shot dead in Gaza, a man of 21, another 19 and his grandfather aged 91 yrs.’ They were shepherds.
BBC only told us about the 4 Israelis who were killed in a car recently!
There is still about 60% unemployment in the camp, so a lot of poverty. The baby clothes I brought were gratefully received as many had run out of clothes because they couldn’t wash them due to lack of water. I gave out some Vitamin tablets also, and will bring some more next time.
We gave about  32 ‘Back to school ‘ packs, which consist of jeans, Tshirts, trainers, school bags, copy books and pens and pencils. Also the 5 nis needed for the school in the camp for registration.  Each pack costs around 25 pounds.
The weather is lovely.  Sunny days with a bit of wind to cool the air…
Best wishes to you all and thanks to all those who made donations, as it helps alot..I lit candles for your intentions today, in the Church of Nativity!!!
Joanne

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