Gazan parents struggle to provide shelter, food for children amid Israeli attacks

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Mohammed Saad, a displaced Palestinian man, finally found a shelter for his eight-member family in the southern Gazan city of Rafah, more than 70 days after the outbreak of Hamas-Israel conflict on Oct. 7, reported Xinhua.

The 59-year-old father of six used to be a well-off businessman, until Israeli attacks destroyed their homes in Gaza City. After being forced to relocate southward, he started to take his family from one refugee shelter to another in Rafah.

"I took nothing except some cash when we moved south, and the amount can only afford daily necessities like food and water," he told Xinhua.

"We had once sheltered in a UNRWA center in Deir al-Balah, but the Israeli army ordered us to evacuate and then we went to Khan Younis until we received another evacuation order. That's how we end up in Rafah," he said.

Currently, his family lives in a temporary tent established in the western part of Rafah and has to share toilets with other families.

"I have to wait in long queues to get food, water, cooking gas, or any other things. Sometimes, I may go back to the tent without getting anything," he said.

The Rafah city, located near the border with Egypt, is crowded with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced by Israeli raids amid worsening humanitarian conditions.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a press statement that with an estimated four-fold increase in population density, exceeding 12,000 people per square kilometer, Rafah is now the most densely populated area in the Gaza Strip.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), nearly 1.9 million people in Gaza, or approximately 85 percent, have been displaced from their homes and areas of residence, including people who have been displaced multiple times.

The death toll of Palestinians from Israeli attacks in Gaza has risen to 19,667 while 52,586 others wounded since Oct. 7, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Israel is still attacking Gaza from the air, land, and sea, denying the people there of any hope that their suffering would end soon.

"The current unprecedented war has left me helpless as I do not have any money to buy the medicine for my children," Semaan Rashid, another Palestinian taking shelter in Rafah, told Xinhua.

His family sleeps in an old car and has to wait for hours for the distribution of food from the UNRWA.

"Where can I go with these poor sick people? No one cares about us or our situation … We are asking for mercy and help only for the sake of our children," the man shouted in desperate tones.

Starvation is broadly reported among a large number of people taking shelter in southern Gaza, according to the World Food Program, as food security there is significantly deteriorating with the influx of population.

The WFP estimated that at least 50 percent of displaced families go to bed hungry at night.

The severe shortage of cooking gas has led to heavy reliance on firewood, wood scraps, and burning waste, which increases the risk of respiratory diseases.

Meanwhile, the rain, which was once considered a blessing, is simply making the situation worse for those who are displaced and living in makeshift tents.

Om Ali Rabhi, a 55-year-old displaced woman who lost her husband to an Israeli raid and now lives in a small tent in Rafah with her 10 children, told Xinhua that they sometimes woke up in mud and drenched from rainwater.

"We used to rejoice at the rain, but now in a situation like this, we have begun to pray for the rain to stop," she said.

"My family is hungry, waiting for any meal from the association or the benefactors. We went to sleep at night and do not know what will happen to us tomorrow."

With tears in her eyes, she said "what do you do when you have nothing to give to your little children, and you can't even keep them dry, warm and clean?"

  •  Israeli
  •  Invasion
  •  Gaza


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