Jerusalem, November 11 (AP) Amidst the ongoing war between Israel and the Palestinian extremist organization Hamas, the situation is such that people are fighting in queues to get bread, waiting for hours to get a bucket of salt water each. They are also suffering from itching, diarrhea and respiratory infections in overcrowded camps.
“My children are crying from hunger and are tired,” said Suzanne Wahidi, a mother of five and a relief worker at a UN camp in the city of Deir al-Balah. “They can’t even use the toilet.” Hundreds of people have to use the same toilet in Deir al-Balah camp.
“I have nothing for them,” he said.
In the second month of the war between Israel and Hamas, more than 10,000 people have died in Gaza and people trapped here are struggling to survive without electricity and water.
Palestinians who managed to escape Israel’s ground attack in northern Gaza are now facing shortage of food and medicine in the southern area. There seems to be no end to this trouble that has come upon the people uninvited, which started after Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7.
More than half a million people are crammed into buildings converted from hospitals and UN schools into camps in the south. Piles of garbage and the mosquitoes and flies hovering over them made these schools a breeding ground for infectious diseases.
Hundreds of aid trucks have entered Gaza through southern Rafah since the beginning of the war, but relief organizations say that aid is a drop in the ocean. Standing in queues for hours in search of bread and water has now become a daily occurrence.
The social fabric of Gaza has been torn apart, having endured decades of conflict, four wars with Israel and 16 years of sanctions after Hamas seized power from Palestinian forces.
“Wherever you go, all you see is pain in people’s eyes,” said Youssef Hammash, a Norwegian Refugee Council relief worker in the southern city of Khan Yunis.
“You can tell he is going through the most difficult time of his life,” he said.
Big shops like supermarkets are almost empty. Bakeries have closed due to lack of flour and fuel for the ovens. Access to Gaza’s farms has become almost impossible and most commodities, apart from onions and oranges, are missing from markets. Many families are cooking pulses by lighting fires on the streets.
“At night you can hear children crying for sweets and hot food,” said Ahmed Kanj, 28, a photographer living in a camp in the southern city of Rafah. I can’t sleep.”
Many people say that it has been weeks since they ate meat, eggs and drank milk and the situation is such that now they get to eat only once a day.
“People are at real risk of malnutrition and starvation,” said Aliya Zaki, spokeswoman for the UN World Food Programme. He said that the ‘food insecurity’ that people associated with relief work talk about is threatening 2.3 million people of Gaza.
Itaf Jamla, 59, who fled Gaza City to Deir al-Balah, said, “I sent my sons to the bakery and eight hours later they arrived with bruises on their bodies. Sometimes even bread is not available to eat. ,
Itaf lives with 15 members of her family in an overcrowded hospital in Deir al-Balah.
Juliet Touma, spokeswoman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said, “The social fabric for which Gaza was famous is today on the verge of breaking due to anxiety and uncertainty.”
AP Jitendra Shobhana