As conflict in Palestine rages for a third week, aid worker Mohammed reports on Islamic Relief’s work on the ground to deliver life-saving humanitarian aid.
It is now day 17 of the conflict. Gaza City is more crowded than usual, packed with people who have fled their homes in search of safety. There are queues at the bakeries and food products have started to disappear from supermarket shelves as supplies run ever-lower. With water tankers unwilling to take the risk of delivering, clean drinking water is very hard to get.
Displacement is a big issue now. In the building where I live, there are families living in flats which are not even fully constructed. These apartments have no windows, doors, toilets or water supplies.
From day one of this brutal conflict, Islamic Relief has been delivering medicine, medical disposables and other supplies to hospitals here in Gaza. We have also distributed food packages to those families that have been uprooted by the fighting, as well as clean drinking water, plastic bags to collect waste and food to help people to break their Ramadan fasts.
Eleven people are sharing two mattresses
Today, I went with the Islamic Relief team to visit one of the many schools in Gaza that are now serving as emergency shelters. Here, I met Shadi, a Palestinian father who lived in the Al Shejaeya area. He told me that he and his family evacuated their home before the shelling started, but returned when he heard of the ceasefire. Then the shelling started in his area. The third floor of Shadi’s apartment building was destroyed.
His brother’s family have joined him in seeking safety at the school. They have been here for six days, eleven people crammed into one room, sharing two mattresses, and running low on vital supplies – especially milk and diapers for the babies. I talked to one of his nephews.
“This Ramadan is different,” said Nemer, 13. “We did not play in the evening with fire crackers. We did not visit our relatives or go to the night prayers.”
We talked to a group of women in the school, asking about what they need. They told us that they have only the clothes they stand up in. One of the women said “We can’t wash our clothes. We also need some medicine for children and elderly people.”
Essential supplies running low for displaced families
Mrs Samya fled the AI Zaytoon area. “Food supplies are better here, as Islamic Relief are providing some food. But we still don’t have mattresses or blankets. Children shower in the school yard or inside the classrooms,” she said.
The longer that these families stay in the shelters, the harder their situation becomes. There are about 125 families in this single school – and about 270 children under ten-years old. All are hoping and praying that tomorrow the violence will end and they will be able to return to their homes. All are afraid that the conflict will not end soon.
Islamic Relief established its Gaza office in 1998, and remains on the ground amidst the latest humanitarian crisis to face Palestinians. Over one thousand people have died, and many more have been injured. More than 100,000 people have fled their homes. Vital supplies – including essential medicines – are running low.
Please support our efforts to provide emergency relief and life-saving aid to those suffering in this conflict: Donate to our Palestine Emergency Appeal today.Donate