Catholic charity hit in Gaza

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Caritas is the Catholic Church’s main charitable outreach agency in the world. It serves the poorest of the poor. They recently had a clinic destroyed in Gaza:

Israeli Bomb Destroys Caritas Medical Clinic

Aid Group Launches $2M Appeal

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip, JAN. 12, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Caritas Internationalis is launching an emergency appeal for the suffering people of Gaza after a bomb on Friday destroyed one of the aid organization’s medical clinics.
The clinic, in the Al Maghazi district of Central Gaza, was completely destroyed in a bombing that also flattened four homes. At least another 20 homes sustained heavy damage in the blast. Families had already fled the area, so Caritas reported no injuries.

The aid organization has five other medical clinics in Gaza. With their appeal, they are hoping to raise more than $2 million for a seven-month program.

Close to 900 Palestinians have died after two weeks of fighting, and U.N. officials say that 40% of the dead are women and children.

Meanwhile, the priest of Gaza’s Catholic parish, Father Manuel Musallam, spoke of the “extreme fear” of the Gazans.

He told Caritas by telephone from Beit Hanoun in Gaza today, “There is extreme fear everywhere here. The bombs the Israelis are dropping are literally cutting through people and through homes. Night and day the sound of children crying is everywhere. The people here don’t sleep. They have lost everything.

“70,000 people are living in schools and they are very cold. The ones who haven’t gone to schools are living in their bathrooms or stairwells because they are afraid of being injured by shattering glass from bombs. There is no water here. We are almost out of diesel for our generator that we have allowed people to come and cook from. When the diesel runs out, we will have nothing. […]

“There are dead bodies lying on the streets. The clinics are carrying out operations on the floor. Women have no place to give birth. One pregnant woman was shot on her way to a clinic to give birth. They tried to save the baby but he, too, was dead.

“Life and death for people in Gaza is the same.”

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