Islamic Relief aid worker Mohammed reports from Gaza, where Islamic Relief is working on the ground to deliver life-saving humanitarian aid to those caught up in the latest outbreak of violence.
We are 12 days in to this conflict. One of the big problems now is electricity. About 90 per cent of homes in Gaza are in total blackout. It is hard to find out what is going on, especially at night.
I could see that the sky at the eastern side of the city was lit, like a storm was coming. I could hear the sounds of huge explosions. I live in the west of Gaza city, and the bombardment from the sea was shaking my house. Shelling did not stop all night.
Destruction on a terrifying scale
At about 5 am, the electricity was back – after more than 20 hours of blackout. The news said that Al Sheja’eya neighbourhood was being bombarded. As the morning progressed, the terrifying scale of what happened emerged. Reports suggest that more than 60 people were killed. Houses were destroyed, and some streets are just totally gone. Ambulances and fire fighters were not allowed in.
I called my Islamic Relief colleague, Nisreen – who lives with her family in Al Sheja’eya. She was one of the lucky ones: she and her family were able to evacuate. Many could not.
Nisreen described it as “like an earthquake has hit”. She told me she saw a man carrying his disabled sister as they sought a safe place, and others just sitting under the trees that line the street. She is lucky, she said, because she and her family have a place to go: many others do not.
Another co-worker, Abu, lives in the same place. He told me later that, “Everyone has left. It is empty now”. A father with a family of seven to care for, he and his relatives are now living with one of our colleagues – hoping that this is a safe place, in a city in which there is no safety.
Islamic Relief established its Gaza office in 1998, and remains on the ground amidst the gravest humanitarian crisis to face Palestinians since the eight day war of 2012.
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