#FromtheField: Luca, protecting the communities and structures in Palestine

Luca Rossetti, tells us about his experience on the field after the Master Hope-in Humanitarian Operations in Emergencies:

“November 2016;

Just one year ago, at this time, I had just began the Master in HOPE. Starting a master focused on the humanitarian profession was a well-meditated decision, but at the same time risky, for a person who was working in a law firm. 

I found myself going through subjects I had never done before, with an approach to which I was not used at all. Nevertheless, the feeling, also thanks to the informal atmosphere (and this is something I was not used to as well), was very positive.

My only doubt was being able to reconcile my juridical background with the humanitarian field, a sector that had always attracted me, but that looked so far away from my studies. One year after, here I am in Palestine, with my Master Degree in hand, in the middle of a stage as an assistant to the coordinator of a humanitarian programme, to follow legal protection and support activities: mission accomplished.

The context of the Palestine, or of the occupied territories, or of the West Bank, is defined as a complex contest of crisis with a protracted deterioration of the humanitarian situation. This is complex, and can be understood by having a full picture and accurate description with the words used to define things and places. The description is always different and based on the interlocutors, in that tiny portion of planet.

If we think about the humanitarian aid, we mainly think of the distribution of necessity goods, such as tents and housing units, water and sanitary services. All of those services need structures and infrastructures. I would like to talk about that now. 

The problem faced for years, by the humanitarian actors and in particular, by the populations who live in this area, is the continuous demolition of those structures (houses, wells, tanks, irrigation systems, but also schools!). One of the activities, which we focus on, is the creation and integration of different help desks in the communities where we operate, with the aim of finding and collecting all the legal documentation, necessary when receiving a demolition injunction. 

The members of those desks are people from the communities, the ones who strongly wanted this project, for coordinating the efforts that until now were profuse time by time by the individual who received an order of demolition without having the means for reacting.

It happens in fact, unfortunately too often, that after few weeks from the finalization of the works, the beneficiaries-owners of the structures receive an order of demolition that only leaves few days of time to oppose judicially or the structure will be demolished. Now, this preventive system of preparation of the documents results not just necessary but also extremely effective, as it allows providing to our partner legal organisations, all the necessary documentation to appeal against the demolition, on the same day the injunction arrives. This allows freezing the situation for many years.

By doing that, we can keep the wells, tanks and sustenance structure operative, and so, we can guarantee that the interested people have access to drinkable water, medical and sanitary services, a roof under which reuniting the families and minimal services that can make them feel as a community.

It is frustrating to receive a demolition order for a just built structure, nevertheless, knowing that through this system it can remain functional for years, is a fantastic success!”

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