CRS packages help Gaza Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr
Published: October 25, 2006
JERUSALEM (CNS) -- With the economic and political situation in the Gaza Strip in shambles and the unemployment rate skyrocketing to almost 90 percent, the Islamic month of Ramadan -- the holiest season of the Muslims' calendar -- was difficult for residents such as Nemr Jerad. Jerad, a 30-year-old father of six, lives with his family in an agricultural district bordering Egypt. He used to support his family with an annual income of $10,000 by exporting his crops to Israel and Egypt. But the constant closing of the border crossings by Israel -- which Israel says is necessary for security -- have left Gaza's agricultural sector in ruins. The situation has worsened with the freezing of international aid and withholding of tax revenues. Using money from a special Catholic Relief Services fund established over the summer to assist Gaza and Lebanon, CRS was able to aid almost 25,000 people in 3,200 needy families with food packages to help them celebrate the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday that ends Ramadan, said CRS' Tom Garofalo. The project was organized and implemented in about a week, he said, with help from five nongovernmental organizations and the offices of the governors of the five Gaza districts.
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