The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project (MRSCP) is partnering with the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) in Rafah to send powdered milk to the people of Rafah.
In January 2005 MRSCP sent a delegation to Rafah to meet with governmental and non-governmental community leaders. Although the humanitarian needs of the people of Rafah are many, nutritional supplements were among the most pressing concerns.
A 2003 study by Al Quds University and Johns Hopkins for CARE and the US Agency for International Development found increasing deficiencies in protein, vitamins A and E, iron, folic acid, and zinc in the diet of Gaza children 1 to 5 years old.
MRSCP has raised approximately $6000 to purchase powdered milk and ship it to Rafah. An initial purchase of over 1000 pounds of powdered milk will be purchased from the Land O’Lakes cooperative. The milk will be labeled with instructions in Arabic and distributed by our partners in Rafah.
Your contribution will provide much needed nutrition for the people of Rafah, whose health status has been severely undermined by the military occupation and closed borders.
Malnutrition in Occupied Palestine
- Over half of the populations of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank were unemployed and more than two-thirds were living below the poverty line.
- Problems of malnutrition and anemia had resurged in the Occupied Territories and problems of micronutrient deficiencies are highly prevalent all over the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) area of operation.
- Micro-nutrient deficiencies – what the World Health Organization calls “hidden hunger” – is just as serious as the protein-energy malnutrition that plagues many parts of Africa. Micronutrient deficient children fail to grow and develop normally; their cognition is damaged, often severely and irreversibly; and their immune systems are compromised. In both adults and children, mental and physical capacities are impaired. Extreme cases can result in death or blindness.
- Almost one-quarter of Palestinian children are suffering from acute or chronic malnutrition, largely because of the Occupation. Nursing and pregnant mothers are suffering, too. On average they consume 15-20% fewer calories per day than they did before the outbreak of the intifada in 2000. The consequent anemia, low folic acid intake, and lack of proteins threaten both their health and the normal development of their children.
- The UN’s relief agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, feeds 1.3 million Palestinians and all but a few Palestinians now depend to some extent on foreign aid to survive.
See “Nutritional Assessment of the West Bank & Gaza Strip,” CARE International, 02 Jan 2003; “Hungry in Gaza,” Peter Hanson, The Guardian, March 4, 2003; and the 2003 UNRWA “Annual Report of the Department of Health”.
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project (MRSCP) was founded in 2003 to foster people-to-people relationships between the citizens of Madison and Rafah. Located on the border with Egypt, Rafah’s economy and city infrastructure have been devastated by Israel’s ongoing military occupation. All aspects of life there, whether cultural, physical, political, or educational, have been negatively affected.
P.O. Box 55371
Madison, WI 53705
Milk from Wisconsin to Rafah
Endnote: Over $6,000 raised by the Milk for Rafah Campaign was diverted, with permission from the major donors, to the Middle East Children’s Alliance for emergency food parcels in Rafah. The original plan to supply Wisconsin powdered milk to Rafah was dropped due to the uncertainty of Israeli border crossing delays.