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The volume of rockets falling on Gaza was unlike anything we’ve seen before

Emergency
Occupied Palestinian Territories

Hani is working for HI in Gaza and shares with us his experience since the escalation of violence in October.

Hani in his office

Hani in his office | © HI

Since October 7 and the escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas, more than 15,000 people were killed and more than 36,000 were injured in Gaza by continuous bombing by Israeli forces. Israel’s retaliatory response come after a massive attack launched by Hamas on October 7, killing 1,200 Israelis and taking hostage 240 Israelis and foreign nationals.

HI has been providing humanitarian aid in Palestine since 1996 and is currently responding to the ongoing crisis. Among our staff, Hani, the Human Resources officer for Humanity & Inclusion (HI) in Gaza, shares his experiences of recent bombings and shelling.

How to live under bombs

We have endured the war in Gaza, and each day has brought its share of distressing stories. It's hard to describe the feeling that comes over you when your body can no longer handle the intense pressure, the daily struggle of protecting your family from the shock of bombings and the awful scenes of violence.

I never thought I would witness an attack so cruel, with such utter disregard for basic human values. I’m a father of four, and two of my children have cerebral palsy. It's always tough to meet their daily needs, but much more so during this conflict. There's not enough food, and we often use salted cooking water for bathing. When we left home, I only took a few things, mostly summer clothes, and found a rented place with some beds and blankets. But it's not enough to keep us warm especially now that it’s getting cold.

Fear during war is worse than the war itself

These days of violence feel like years of stumbling between pain and hope, with life and death constantly on our minds. The psychological impact is devastating, especially for my two children with disabilities who can't understand what or why this is happening. The biggest challenge in this war is dealing with my children’s fear during the constant bombings. Evacuation is tough, moving from one place to another with my two children with disabilities, trying to appear strong despite my own fears. Sadly, nowhere is safe in Gaza anymore.

As someone who has worked in the humanitarian sector for over 20 years, I've learned about protecting people from harm, but these principles have been trampled in this aggression.

To put it simply, fear during war is worse than the war itself. I dream of a day when a child can ask his mum, "Why was there a war?", as something from the past.

The volume of rockets falling on Gaza is like nothing we’ve seen in previous conflicts

When people are safe in their homes, they can live their day to the fullest. When security is replaced by pain and fear, living becomes dependent on what the long hours bring.

When the situation deteriorated, I was forced to move us all to our old house. We stayed there for two days, but my children’s fear and cries, especially those of my two children with disabilities, made us move on to another place.

I didn't know what to do, but I had to keep my family and my children safe. My life doesn't matter as much as ensuring their safety. This is how we are in Gaza, living between hope and pain. The volume of rockets falling on Gaza was like nothing we’ve seen in previous conflicts, and the people living on the eastern borders have been forced to leave behind everything they own to try to find a safer place.

About HI in Palestine

HI launched its first project in Palestine in 1996. For the last 27 years, our teams have been responding to the needs of the Palestinian community – both in West Bank and Gaza – across several sectors.

In the wake of the current crisis, HI is scaling up its emergency response in Gaza with provision of physical rehabilitation, first aid and dressing kits, non-food items, recreational activities, and risk education sessions for tens of thousands of Gazans, through 100 national staff. HI is also implementing preparedness and response activities in the West Bank and Lebanon and logistical activities for the Gaza response in Egypt.

Date published: 05/12/23

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