GAZA EMERGENCY

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Sadness
Gaza Emergency

“Before we go to sleep, we say goodbye to each other”

“Picture a child in Gaza right now. Instead of bedtime stories, they hear explosions; instead of dreams, they have nightmares. These kids are living through a terrifying reality that no one should experience,” asserts Khitam Abuhamad, Head of our Gaza Office.

Since the start of the war on October 7th, children are disproportionally affected. In Gaza, half of the population is under 18 years of age. Thousands of lives have already been lost, of which too many children. Health facilities are overcrowded and face severe shortages, schools have been struck.

PR : Israël/Territoires palestiniens

Khitam during a colouring activity with young girls
Khitam
 
Abuhamad
Head of Gaza Office

“Almost all of us left our homes, the majority of us are staying with relatives,” says Khitam. “I fled with two of my sisters to the South of Gaza. We lost connections with other family members and friends. It’s hard to reach people by phone – at the same time you need courage to try and call, fearing to hear sad news. We are 20 people sleeping in each room, with no electricity, and water is hard to find. The night is especially scary. We try to sleep knowing that this might be our last night. Before we go to sleep we say goodbye to each other. Waking up every morning is like a miracle. “ 

After 16 years of continuous blockade, recurrent wars, and escalations, more than half of the children already faced difficulties in dealing with their emotions and managing daily activities. This recent trauma is likely to have a lasting impact on their mental health. “The scenes on the streets are horrific. Children are extremely horrified, they cry all the time. Their faces tell the story of our struggle and suffering. They are already beyond traumatised. They are asking when the war will stop and when they can go back to school.”

A child sitting amid destroyed buildings.
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Pictures © Tdh/François Struzik; © Tdh