Medical Aid for Palestinians
Air strikes are still ongoing all over Gaza. 39 Palestinians have been killed and 345 people injured by Israeli aerial, ground and naval strikes since Wednesday. This morning nine people were killed in Al Maghazi refugee camp. Maghazi is characterised by narrow alleys and high population density, with more than 24,000 refugees housed in an area of no more than 0.6 square kilometres.
The intensity and the frequency of the strikes are making it extremely difficult for people to detach themselves from what is going on even for a few minutes. "The majority of people's conversations on the phone are about how to protect themselves," says Fikr Shalltoot, MAP's Programme Manager in Gaza. People are trying to keep away from windows, but they are not safe even inside their houses. Many of the children and the civilians who have been killed and injured were in their homes and perhaps thought that they were safe but they were not. Unfortunately, nowhere is safe in Gaza.
"People feel sick and imprisoned," Fikr went on to say. "It would help if we could at least understand the rhythm of the attacks so we can plan our movement accordingly, but so far there is no rhythm and the strikes are completely unpredictable.'
The psychological impact of the strikes on civilians in Gaza, especially children, is of particular concern. Parents are reporting that children are displaying signs of extreme stress, including excessive crying, bedwetting, and screaming on hearing frequent explosions.
Samar is a mother of five children in Gaza City says, "We can't sleep or have any rest. Our nerves are so tight. The bombing is so loud, as if there is an earthquake. The houses are shaking and the walls are cracked. We are unable to move out of the house or do anything. We cannot eat. We don't want to eat or drink. We only want them to leave us alone".
Rana, Samar's 9 year old daughter is terrified. "I don't want my mom to sleep," she says, "I want her to be always awake. I don't want her to close her eyes. I sleep next to my mum and curl myself up in her lap. But when she closes her eyes, I am so scared I wake her up".
Israel's ongoing bombardment of one of the most densely populated areas in the world is taking a terrible toll on Palestinian civilians who, living under blockade for over 5 years, have still not recovered from the last war on Gaza.