Tens of thousands of Palestinians displaced in Gaza: UN | Gaza News

Cradling her newborn baby Hasan on the floor of a classroom in Gaza City, her five other children running in and out, Suheir al-Arbeed lists the basic necessities they lack.

“We need food, clothes, quilts, mattresses and milk,” al-Arbeed, who gave birth two weeks ago, told Al Jazeera in a telephone interview. “My back hurts from sleeping on a thin blanket on the floor.”

“I have to ask other people for diapers for my son,” she added. “I try to breastfeed him but he is still hungry and continues to cry.

Suheir al-Arbeed holds newborn son in Gaza al-Jadeeda school in Gaza after she and her family were forced to leave their home in Shujaiyah [Mohammed Salem/Al Jazeera]

The 30-year-old was among hundreds of families living in northern and eastern Gaza who fled their homes overnight Thursday as Israeli artillery and aerial bombardment shook the ground beneath them. feet.

Families escaped on foot and rushed in the dark for several kilometers to the Gaza al-Jadeeda school, one of many run by UNRWA, the United Nations refugee agency. Palestinians.

“There were no cars or transportation available,” said al-Arbeed, whose home is located in the Shujaiyah area in northeast Gaza.

For Umm Jamal al-Attar, this is not the first time that she and her family have been displaced. She told Al Jazeera that she spent 40 days sheltering in a school during the 2014 Gaza war, in which Israel killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians over a period of 50 years. days.

Displaced families dry their clothes on railings while children play in the schoolyard [Mohammed Salem/Al Jazeera]

Umm Jamal, her husband and five children ran out of their home in Atatra, in the northern town of Beit Lahia, after a nearby house was targeted by an Israeli missile.

The attack killed Lamya al-Attar and her three children – Amir, Islam and Mohammed – who lived in an apartment on the second floor.

“The Israelis were bombarding us with missiles and bombardments. They also fired some kind of gas, ”Umm Jamal said, adding that she had not been able to go home to buy clothes or food.

“Our children need to be distracted with toys or anything that will distract them from the bombing and the fear they live in,” she said. “The bombing is all they’re talking about now.”

Warda al-Gharabli cleans the floor of the Gaza al-Jadeeda school in Gaza City [Mohammed Salem/Al Jazeera] (Restricted use)

“Urgent need for support”

Israel’s bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip, now in its second week, killed at least 201 Palestinians, including 58 children and 35 women, according to Gaza health officials. More than 1,300 others were injured.

Israel reported that at least 10 people, including two children, were killed in rocket attacks carried out by Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules Gaza.

The escalation was sparked last Monday when Israeli forces cracked down on protesters inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, injuring hundreds of Palestinians. When Israel failed to meet Hamas’ deadline to withdraw its forces from the area around the holy site, which is sacred to Muslims and Jews, Hamas fired several rockets at Jerusalem. Soon after, Israel carried out air raids on Gaza.

According to the United Nations, more than 38,000 Palestinians from Gaza have been internally displaced and seek refuge in 48 UNRWA schools across the coastal territory. That figure includes at least 2,500 people whose homes were completely destroyed by Israeli bombing.

In a brief statement on Monday, UNRWA spokesperson Adnan Abu Hassan said the agency had started responding to the basic needs of displaced families.

“We urgently need support,” he said, referring to the May 10 Israeli closure of the border crossing used to deliver humanitarian aid.

“I need blankets for my children”

Majda Abu Karesh, a mother of seven whose home in Beit Lahia was destroyed, said families have had to fend for themselves with basic supplies.

“This is the fourth war that we have to seek refuge in a school,” she told Al Jazeera.

“For five days now, we have been sleeping on bare floors and we have not received any food or supplies from UNRWA. There isn’t even clean drinking water and the toilets are messy.

Majda Abu Karesh, 30, a mother of seven, said it was the fourth time her family had been moved from their homes in Beit Lahia since the 2008-09 Israeli offensive. [Mohammed Salem/Al Jazeera]

Shaher Barda, who was forced to leave Shujaiya with his family with only clothes on his back, said the refugee agency “didn’t care much about our situation.”

“We got together and each person paid 1 shekel ($ 0.30) so that we could buy enough water,” he said. “We are not here by choice, but because our homes are not bomb shelters and no one would have survived the mad Israeli attacks.”

An IDF spokesman on Friday acknowledged the intensity of the bombing and shelling, and said the pre-dawn blitz included 160 fighter jets and used around 450 missiles and shells to attack 150 targets in 40 minutes.

The spokesman said the military had targeted a large network of underground tunnels used by Hamas, but many locals disputed the statement, saying they had not seen any combatants.

Rajai Barda and his family fled their home in Shujaiyah after a neighbor’s home was destroyed by Israeli airstrikes on May 12. [Mohammed Salem/Al Jazeera]

Rajai, a relative of Barda, said he and his family could not return home because it was too dangerous.

“For many families here, since we live in an area near the Israeli fence, this is not the first time that we have been moved,” he said, sitting on a piece of cardboard that now serves as a bed.

“We want the world to support us,” he continued. “And we in Gaza are behind the Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinians in Jerusalem and elsewhere. We must all stand together. But now I just need blankets for my children, who couldn’t sleep last night due to the cold.

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