If there is hell on Earth, it is the Gaza Strip, say representatives of humanitarian organizations. The situation in the besieged enclave is dramatic. Food and water are becoming scarce, the weather is deteriorating, and recent heavy rains have flooded tents that have been temporary homes for many Palestinians for weeks. Children who have lost all their family members as a result of the fighting are in the worst situation.
10-year-old Razan has no idea that she has become an orphan. Her parents and some of her siblings were killed in one of the last Israeli airstrikes. The girl was seriously injured and spent several days in the intensive care unit of one of the hospitals in the central part of the Gaza Strip. – I want the war to end, I want to go home. I miss my family, says Razan Shabat, a 10-year-old from the Gaza Strip.
Razan is among approximately 25,000 Palestinian children who lost their parents in Israel’s war with Hamas. The girl’s relatives are alive, so after leaving the hospital they were taken into their care, but according to UNICEF, there are children in the Gaza Strip who literally have no one.
– When a child is the last surviving member of the family, there is a real problem. During the humanitarian break, we tried to create safe spaces for children where they could catch their breath and play. Places where we could find out if they had any relatives. Unfortunately, all this fell apart when the fighting resumed, says James Elder, spokesman for UNICEF.
Diseases are rampant in the Gaza Strip
Representatives of humanitarian organizations openly admit: The Gaza Strip is hell on earth today. In a region where access to clean water, soap and bathrooms is difficult, diseases spread rapidly. There is garbage and sewage in the streets. Respiratory infections, dysentery, scabies and lice, among others, are rampant in the Gaza Strip.
– The health care system has collapsed. This is a textbook recipe for an epidemic. Shelters have been overcrowded for a long time. People stand in lines for hours to use toilets. Often hundreds of people use one toilet, says Lynn Hastings, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories.
According to WHO, over 160,000 cases of diarrhea were recorded among Palestinians under 5 years of age alone. The World Health Organization reminds that it is the second most common cause of death among young children.
More and more extremely dehydrated Palestinians are admitted to the hospital in Khan Yunus. The number of cases of hepatitis A is also increasing. – The incubation period of the virus is from three weeks to a month. In the near future, we can expect an increase in cases of hepatitis A. People become ill, among other things, because of eating products unfit for consumption and lack of proper hygiene, explains Dr. Ahmed Al-Farra, who works at Nasser Hospital.
The downpour flooded the tents
The weather does not make the situation any easier. Due to heavy rains, tents where thousands of Palestinians have been living for weeks were flooded. Most of them fled their homes with little more than the clothes they were wearing at the time.
– Water flooded the entire tent. My 7 month old baby was all wet. Our house was destroyed. We have one blanket for five people. We have no mattresses, we have no drinking water, we have no food, says Yasmin Mhani, a displaced resident of the Gaza Strip.
For weeks, humanitarian organizations have been emphasizing that the aid reaching the enclave cannot meet the basic needs of the Palestinians. The inhabitants of the Gaza Strip are suffering from hunger. According to the World Food Program, 9 out of 10 Palestinians cannot afford to eat every day.
The UN is pressuring Israel to allow more humanitarian convoys to enter the enclave.
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Main photo source: Reuters