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Catholics try to ‘pick up the pieces’ in Gaza

Damage control: Two Palestinian sisters walk among the rubble of their destroyed home in the Gaza Strip on August 12. A senior Catholic aid official said humanitarians are “trying to pick of the pieces” of Gaza’s badly destroyed infrastructure, hoping that the truce between Israel and the militant Hamas will hold. Photo: CNS

Damage control: Two Palestinian sisters walk among the rubble of their destroyed home in the Gaza Strip on August 12. A senior Catholic aid official said humanitarians are “trying to pick of the pieces” of Gaza’s badly destroyed infrastructure, hoping that the truce between Israel and the militant Hamas will hold. Photo: CNS

A SENIOR Catholic aid official said humanitarian agencies are “trying to pick up the pieces” of Gaza’s badly destroyed infrastructure, desperately hoping that the declared truce between Israel and the militant Hamas will hold.

“It’s difficult to explain the gravity of the situation,” Sami El-Yousef, regional director of the Jerusalem office of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, said.

El-Yousef said the initial cease-fire in early August allowed aid workers to get out for the first time in more than a month to assess the extent of the damage from intensive bombardment and shelling.

“We’re trying to pick up the pieces of the infrastructure, water, sanitation, electricity. Food and water supplies are running low, there is significant damage to the infrastructure, homes and other buildings,” he said.

“It’s going to take a very, very long time before Gaza gets back on its own two feet.”

He and others are “clinging to the hope” the cease-fire “will hold and eventually we get to the root cause of all this mess. Otherwise, we will enter this cycle again and again.”

As the extent of the devastation wrought on the coastal strip emerges so, too, have some of the stories unfolded of both bittersweet miracles and tragedies.

CNS

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