Thursday, Nov. 27th, 2014

The National Society for Democracy and Law (NSDL) organized a workshop entitled “War Repercussions on the Right to access to the Basic Services in Rafah”, within the activities of “Emergency Legal Assistance to the Affected People in Rafah Due to the 2014 War on Gaza Project”, supported by UNDP/PAPP, which provides legal aids to the vulnerable and the affected groups due to Gaza war 2014, by UNDP/PAPP.

PhD. Ibrahim Muammar, chairman of NSDL, Mr. Sobhi Redwan, the mayor of Rafah, Dr. Yousuf Mousa – director of operations at UNRWA in Rafah, by UNDP/PAPP, lawyers, advocates, and journalists from Rafah.

Mrs. Suad Al-Mashni opened the meeting welcoming the guests and the attendance, then talking about the project and its importance for Rafah. After that PhD. Muammar illustrated the aim of the meeting, which is finding a method eases reaching to the basic services by the people after the 51 days war, which resulted thousand casualties and damages, in addition to shading the light on the right of the civilian to access to the basic services.

PhD. Mummar also mentioned that the project is for the affected people due to Gaza war 2014, by the society, which represents the vulnerable groups in front of the official agencies in addition to providing legal awareness raising and legal consultations praising the roles played by Rafah Municipality, UNRWA and worked organizations and agencies during the war in Rafah.

On the other hand, Mr. Redwan talked about what the municipality seeks for, development and improvements in Rafah, before and after the war include road works and projects serve groups concerned about the development of the local economy.

And He added that the municipality formed a central emergency committee in the cooperation with UNRWA and civil defense, Coastal Municipalities Water Utility and several responsible agencies once it felt the sign of the war illustrating the difficulties the municipality faces due to the war, especially since the shortage of its incomes after closing the tunnels, which represents the lifeline of the Gaza Strip and an important source for the income of the municipality. Then he said: “the musicality played an important role in alleviating suffering of the civilians at the evacuation centers and whole Rafah, but our budget and assumption of financial burden in order to able the other parties to do their duties to serve the people”.

For services UNRWA provides to the forced displaced and affected people during and after the war, Dr. Mousa confirmed that UNRWA opened about 14 evacuation centers in Rafah for 56,000 displaced people in whole Rafah.

He stressed on that the legal rights of the displaced people to the basic services which considered important by UNRWA, which is an international organization. And then he said that UNRWA is proceeding to serve the affected civilians by providing material and financial aids and reconstruct their destroyed houses by the Israeli Occupation Forces.

At the end of the meeting, the attendance raised several questions and inquires about their problems and difficult to access to the basic services. Some of these questions and inquires were about the governmental lands people live on, and their houses have been destroyed during the war, the problem of the uncovered pool in Al-Junaina neighborhood, which people their suffer from, especially school students, where the school had been closed for about a month last year, the problem of pavements’ occupancy with goods by some merchants who claim that the municipality rent these pavements, the problem of the poor families who cannot cover rent coasts while they do not benefit from rent allowance, the problem of Al-Nasser neighborhood which suffers from the lack of sewerage network, the problem of water salinity and its effects on the agricultural sector, and the problem of the unpaved Sana’a road (sandy road) sided with cactuses, which are houses for reptiles, snakes and harmful insects that affects safety of people, in addition to its lack of lighting.

Some solutions have been provided to solve some raised are mentioned as follows:

Mr. Redwan promised to make a field visit to Sana’a road and remove the cactuses on the side of the road and coordinate with Gaza Electricity Distribution Cooperation in order to light the road.

He said that the municipality preparing for the implementation of the third package of sewage network project in Rafah. For water salinity, he said that the municipality will try to benefit from rainwater in a better way and try to inject it in the aquifer.

For the uncovered pool, he said once the municipality restive a grant for this project, the municipality will implement it, and said that there are several streets in Tal-Al-Sultan and Al-Balad neighborhoods the municipality is working to pave in order to implement the third package of sewage treatment.

Dr. Mousa talked about the problem of the governmental lands. He said that the civilian must consult authority of lands if it accept building houses by UNRWA on, and UNRWA does not oppose rebuild these houses.

He stressed on that UNRWA is totally concern about securing the right of the civilian to access to the basic services, and promised to intensify efforts in order to achieve.

At the end of the meeting, the society thanked the guests and the attendance and their concern to provide better services to the civilian.