AN APPEAL has been launched to help people affected by the conflict in Gaza.

The appeal is being launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee after hundreds of thousands of people fled their homes with many needing not only shelter but food, water, household items and often medical care.

There are now 65,000 people in Gaza who have seen their homes severely damaged or destroyed.

Although there is only a temporary truce, DEC member agencies are rapidly increasing the level of assistance they are providing.

Some agencies had worked through the fighting despite the considerable risks involved and others have responded when and where lulls in the fighting allow.

Bristol and South Gloucestershire’s regional coordinator for Christian Aid, one of the 13 aid organisations that make up DEC, Lydia Nash said:

“We are saddened by the renewed violence but it will not shake the resolve of DEC members and their partners in Gaza to continue to find ways to provide whatever help they can.

“DEC agencies have for the last month constantly sought opportunities to provide life-saving relief whenever and wherever the circumstances allowed.

“Even those agencies that might now be forced to temporarily suspend work by the latest outbreak of violence will immediately seek to resume operations at the first opportunity.

“Christian Aid through its local partners is reaching 20,000 people with clean water and providing healthcare to 600 people a day.

“We are also reaching 3,240 people with food baskets, as well as hygiene items, mattresses, blankets, clothing and shoes and beginning to provide vital psychosocial support to children and women.

“The help of the public across Bristol, South Gloucestershire and the UK in supporting the DEC Gaza Crisis Appeal is essential for the thousands of people trapped in this violence and living its consequences.”

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said:

“After four weeks of terrible fighting Gaza is on the edge. Over half a million people have been forced from their homes, and one and a half million people have no or very limited access to water or sanitation.

“Many people are living in terribly overcrowded UN shelters, but they still need food and basic household items which we take for granted. Many are in urgent need of medical care, but hospital supplies are almost finished.

“Even before the conflict began the people of Gaza were close to breaking point. Now we are seeing a humanitarian emergency affecting virtually every man, woman and child in Gaza.

“The DEC’s member agencies and their partners are on the ground but they need funds to meet the huge needs. They are relying on the generosity of the British people to make a difference in Gaza.”

All major broadcasters will be carrying the DEC appeal including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky.

To make a donation to the DEC Gaza Crisis Appeal visit, call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.