The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Caritas stands with the children of Gaza in the face of air bombardment

Media Image Credits: 
Aftermath of previous bombing of Gaza in 2014
Event date: 
19 May 2021

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is to provide $10,000 to the work of Caritas Jerusalem as it supports families in Gaza who are in desperate need following this week’s intense aerial bombardment. 

“In November 2019 I travelled to the Holy land and saw first-hand the plight of the people, especially the women and children. Based on my experience of Gaza I understand something of the trauma, dislocation and panic that people must be going through at the moment. They are unable to escape. We are standing with our sister organisation, Caritas Jerusalem, as they try to help people in great and urgent need in Gaza” said Julianne Hickey, Director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.

"We are praying for the people we met in Gaza. I think particularly of the staff of Caritas Jerusalem working in Gaza; the doctor who told me yesterday that 'people are living under intolerable and terrible attacks. In Gaza the infrastructure, the roads, the governmental facilities, and many civilian homes have been destroyed'; or the young social media manager who said 'they targeted buildings, roads, and vehicles and no one can move out or do anything. Moving around at this time is very dangerous.'

Sr. Bridget Tighe, Secretary General of Caritas Jerusalem, described the situation in Gaza this week, where more than two million people live in an area of approximately 141 square miles. "The bombings are extremely heavy. The people of Gaza have lived through many wars over many years, but everyone agrees that this time it is completely different. They are trapped in this densely populated strip of land at the mercy of intense air bombardment with nowhere to flee for safety."

In Gaza, at least 217 Palestinians have been killed, including 63 children, and about 1,400 wounded since fighting began last week. The victims include a mother and four of her children, who were killed in an airstrike on residential buildings in the Al Shati Refugee camp, close to the Caritas clinic, which is currently closed. Due to repeated attacks on civilians and infrastructure, Caritas had to close the clinic because of the high risk of collateral damage. The shelling also destroyed large sections of main roads, preventing ambulances from transporting the wounded to hospitals.

“Through our Peace in the Middle East Campaign all donations received by Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, for the work of Caritas Jerusalem, will be used to relieve suffering. We will continue to pray for a just and lasting peace in Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land” said Julianne Hickey. Anyone wishing to contribute to the support for Caritas Jerusalem can donate at the Peace in the Middle East Campaign


For more information, please contact Caritas Director, Julianne Hickey at 04 496 1742; 021 909 656 or email to


Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ agency for justice, peace and development, and incorporates Catholic Volunteers Overseas. We are working for a world free of poverty and injustice through community development, advocacy, education, and emergency relief. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.

Follow Caritas on Twitter: @CaritasNZ

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