ΜΗΧΑΝΙΚΟΙ ΤΗΣ ΓΗΣ
ENGINEERS OF THE EARTH
     

Gaza strip

The first mission

In June 2009, a few days after the armistice, Sotiris Karalis, Topographer Engineer and member of the group Engineers of the Earth, visited the municipality of Gaza, in the place of a broader Greek mission. During his stay, he found out that the urban infrastructure had been almost completely destroyed. Hospitals, schools, the Parliament, the Islamic University, the Town Hall, pantries of UNRWA (United Nations and Works Agency), police stations, public services, Mosques, houses, small enterprises and garages were bombed. The total account is 21.000 devastated houses, 4.000 of them completely. Homeless people are estimated to be around 100.000 (approximately the 8% of the population). The most affected areas are those of the Northern part of Gaza, at the refugee municipalities of Beit Hanoun and Rafa. Very much affected is the elementary agricultural production: Many aviaries have been destroyed, when these were the only sources of animal proteins for Gaza population and also fields with lemon and other citrus trees. During this visit the first contact with the local authorities was made, mainly with the administrative staff of Gaza municipality.

The second mission

In March 2010, after constant contact with the municipality of Gaza, a second mission was organized. This time the group consisted of 5 engineers of different specialties: Sotiris Karalis (Topographer Engineer), Panagiotis Dimitriadis (Civil Engineer), Voula Zotali (Chemical Engineer), Vassili Serbetoglou (Mechanical Engineer) and Yianni Tavlikos (Energy and Software Engineer). The mission reached with success the Egyptian boarders with Gaza Strip. Despite the intensive efforts towards the Egyptian Authorities the borders remained close to all foreign missions – even to the parliament members of the neighboring Jordan. However, the equipment for water quality measurements (pH and oxygen meter) an offer of the Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering of the NTUA (National Technical University of Athens), reached Gaza. Our goal is to repeat the mission, within the next months, in order to achieve cooperation among the two parts to cover mainly technical necessities of Gaza people.

The third mission

In May 2010, we participated in the initiative a boat to Gaza. Thanos Petrogiannis, a Civil Engineer, embarked on the passenger ship “Sfendoni”, which along with the ship “Free Mediterranean” departed in the 25th of May. The goal was to break the sea blockade of Gaza strip. He had with him a matrix for plinth construction, and a manual written in collaboration with the group Architects without borders. This mission had both symbolic character and practical dimensions. Members of our group who had visited Gaza in the past have transferred pictures of bombarded buildings, where the holes on the buildings were covered roughly with canvases. The mud–bricks could give a temporary solution, since there was α difficulty in providing materials from the outside world. Moreover, we had information through the internet that this technique had already been applied by residents, though roughly, on one–storey houses. Unfortunately the ships were attacked by the Israeli Navy, so they never reached their final destination and 9 activists were killed.

For further information you can visit the following blog where participating members describe their experiences and share their views: http://engoegaza.blogspot.com/

 
 
 
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