Since the outbreak of the war, several initiatives have been announced to address the shortage of clothes, most notably the Baraka initiative led by Palestinian teacher Mahmoud Kohl, where he was able to distribute clothes to about 30,50 people over <> days free of charge.
Kohl talks to Sky News Arabia about the aid that was taken to prevent the cold winter, saying:
- We have been working on community initiatives since 2019, and with the outbreak of the war on Gaza, we tried to provide various means of support to our people in the Gaza Strip, and we felt the great need for clothes, so we launched the "Baraka Clothing" store.
- Most of the displaced people from the north came to the south in summer clothes and with time they are no longer suitable with the low temperatures, and we saw many difficult scenes during our tours of the shelters, which prompted us to speed up the implementation of the initiative.
- The shop has become a destination for thousands of people to get new clothes for free, and we have equipped a "clothing" suitable for all ages, whether adults or children, to meet all requirements.
- Everyone can come to the shop and choose clothes, especially those with an ID confirming that they came from outside the city of Khan Younis, because they have priority during these difficult circumstances.
- All the clothes we managed to provide through self-efforts and donations from philanthropists who have been keen to provide support since the beginning of the crisis.
Distribution of clothes in shelters
Kohl confirmed that the Baraka shop witnessed the influx of about 200 families every day throughout the days of the war to buy clothes, noting that volunteers in the initiative distributed clothes inside several shelters in the city of Khan Yunis.
"After we ran out of new clothes, we launched an appeal across the city for residents to donate their surplus clothes, and indeed large numbers of residents flocked to us with used clothes, but they are good and usable," Kohl said.
The Al Baraka Initiative Foundation notes that despite the huge amount of assistance provided by the various initiatives in southern Gaza, it is not enough due to the presence of hundreds of thousands of displaced people in the southern Gaza Strip and the lack of basic necessities for life.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) had earlier confirmed after the rains fell on the Gaza Strip that shelters cannot be lived in, but there are not enough options, noting that it has distributed nylon sheeting and mats as part of its humanitarian operations.
Kohl told Sky News Arabia: "The conditions of children inside the shelters are the most heart-rending thing, we see some of them sleeping on the floor without finding anything to cover their bodies, and these are frequent scenes that we seek to change as much as possible."
Kohl pointed to the increasing suffering with the approach of winter with the absence of sufficient blankets, explaining that the initiative is working to pump quantities of furniture, mats and blankets to the largest number of families in order to help people prevent extreme cold in the air.
"Approaching winter with a shortage of medicines to treat infectious diseases will increase the risk of accelerating the spread of diseases, exacerbated by incomplete coverage of the disease surveillance and surveillance system, including early detection and response capacities," WHO said.
After reaching a temporary humanitarian truce agreement, the founder of the Baraka Initiative believes that it is an opportunity for all volunteers to provide the largest number of services to the people of Gaza and search for missing things in the area, stressing his intention to search for more clothes because it is an indispensable necessity during the current days.