The world has broken its promises about rebuilding Gaza – and the children will suffer

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The Guardian, 21 February 2015

Jibril, left, lost two of his four grandchildren to hypothermia in the storms last month. The family now live in a tiny plastic-covered wooden structure in Beit Hanoun with a blanket for a door. Photograph: Belal Hasna
Jibril, left, lost two of his four grandchildren to hypothermia in the storms last month. The family now live in a tiny plastic-covered wooden structure in Beit Hanoun with a blanket for a door. Photograph: Belal Hasna

Baby Salma died of hypothermia at just 40 days old. Her body was drenched with freezing rainwater. It was frozen “like ice-cream”. Gaza was hit by a severe winter storm called “Huda” in January. Salma was its youngest victim.

I meet Salma’s mother, Mirvat, and 14 members of her extended family in the very place, indeed the room, where Salma slept during her last night at home. They still live there in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, in a tiny three-room wooden structure, covered with plastic. When I see it from the road, I assume it houses animals. The door is a blanket which flaps in the biting wind. It is raining. Water flows in. Mirvat pulls back the sodden carpet that serves as flooring and scoops the wet sand below. Memories of Salma’s death on 9 January are painfully fresh.

“The night she died the storm was strong. We were all soaking wet, but some of us managed to sleep. The rain came and in and drenched Salma’s blankets. I found her shaking. Her tiny body was frozen like ice-cream. We took her to hospital, but later the doctor called. Salma was dead. My beautiful girl weighed 3.1kg at birth. She was healthy and would be alive today if we had not been bombed out of our home in the war and reduced to living like this.” [...]

from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/21/chris-gunness-gaza-aid-broken-promises-children-suffer