Residents of Gaza are grappling with a mounting humanitarian crisis as Israeli air strikes intensify, leaving in their wake a trail of destruction and fear.
Rimal, one of Gaza City’s wealthiest and usually quietest neighborhoods, bore the brunt of the recent wave of air strikes in retaliation to the assault launched by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip on southern Israel. The strikes have caused extensive damage to residential buildings, the offices of telecommunications companies, and faculty buildings of the Islamic University of Gaza.
The aftermath of the strikes presents a landscape reminiscent of an earthquake, with rubble, shattered glass, and severed wiring strewn everywhere. “I lost everything. My apartment, where my five children lived, was here in this building. My grocery shop below the building was destroyed,” laments Mohammed Abu al-Kass, a resident of Rimal.
The Palestinian health ministry reports that Monday was the deadliest day in Gaza for many years, with around 300 fatalities, two-thirds of them civilians. The death toll since Saturday now stands at 900, including 260 children, and another 4,500 people have been injured.
As the Israeli firestorm escalates, the humanitarian crisis is deepening. Gaza’s 2.2 million residents are running out of essential supplies, including food, fuel, electricity, and water, following Israel’s decision to impose a “complete siege” and cut off all of Gaza’s supplies in response to the Hamas attack.
Gazans are finding themselves in increasingly desperate situations, with the only supermarket that has managed to open seeing dozens of people queuing in hopes of securing whatever provisions they can. Transporting fresh produce from the south of Gaza to the north is becoming increasingly challenging due to the severe fuel shortage.
Egypt, maintaining a tight blockade on Gaza along with Israel since Hamas took over the territory in 2007, has not delivered any food or essential goods. The Rafah border crossing with Egypt, which usually allows only 400 people a day to pass, has been rendered inoperable due to Israeli air strikes, leaving Gazans trapped.
This crisis has forced approximately 200,000 people to seek shelter in UN-run schools, while others, risking being trapped if their buildings collapse, have taken refuge in basements.
The escalating Israeli firestorm is a stark reminder that no place in Gaza is safe anymore. As residents navigate this devastating landscape, the world watches with bated breath, hoping for an end to the violence and a peaceful resolution to this prolonged conflict.