Palestinian father and his child stand in front of their destroyed home in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip. (File photo: Anadolu Agency)
"At least there is something that alleviates the calamity we live. UNRWA pays the rental subsidies. This is very helpful until our own home is rebuilt,” said Palestinian refugee from Gaza Rashad al-Sayed.
Standing on the wreckage of his apartment, Rashad mourned every moment he worked to save money to buy his home: “We thought that we were safe in our home. I never imagine losing the home I worked for all my life. There was an explosion very nearby while we were sleeping. We could not run”.
Rashad and his family lost their home during the May 2021 hostilities in Gaza. The explosion also injured every member of his family and left his 24-year-old son Ahmad, a quadriplegic when the apartment’s roof collapsed on their heads.
The event traumatized the pain-stricken family, who had to start a new life chapter without a home or a future.
"I became blind 15 years ago and have been waiting for my children to graduate from school and work to help me. I just finalized all the payments on the apartment and Ahmad just graduated [university] as a physiotherapist. He started a temporary job opportunity one month before the hostilities began. Our lives have been ruined,” Rashad told UNRWA.
Following the destruction of their apartment, the family now lives in a rented apartment and receives Transitional Shelter Cash Assistance (TSCA) from UNRWA to help make the payments. Following the May hostilities, a total of 701 households (3,595 individuals) in Gaza require transitional shelter support, received as cash grants, to cover their immediate shelter needs. Each family received a one-off cash payment of US$ 2,000, which is meant to cover rental costs for six months, and some immediate home necessities.
To be eligible for TSCA, the Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Gaza established an initial list of families, who were identified as those whose shelters were severely or completely damaged during the escalation. To ensure transparency, an online system was set up for the impacted families to submit their applications. This list was then shared with humanitarian actors under the shelter cluster. According to its mandates, UNRWA was tasked to manage the caseload of refugee families.