Feature: Repeated displacement dash Gazans' dream for normal life

  • World
  • Thursday, 20 Jun 2024

GAZA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- In Gaza, the relentless cycle of displacement has shattered the dreams of many, forcing millions to repeatedly uproot their lives in the wake of Israeli offensives that have scarred every corner of the densely populated enclave.

"For us, thinking about the future is exhausting," said Masada Al-Hamzawi, a 32-year-old widow and Palestinian refugee from Beit Hanoun in northeastern Gaza. She has endured the agony of displacement across various areas of the strip.

As the sole provider for her five children since her husband's passing in 2013, Masada had held onto hope for a better future amid the challenges of raising orphaned kids.

"But all my hopes were shattered when the war began," she lamented. "Today, we don't know if we'll live to see tomorrow, let alone rebuild what's been destroyed."

Masada now lives with her children in a tent on the beach of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, where scorching temperatures make daily life unbearable.

"Survival is a daily struggle, with no prospects for a better future in sight," she added, fearing her family might be forced into perpetual displacement, just like her grandparents.

Emad Abu Hamad, another refugee from Khan Younis in southern Gaza, said the conflict and the displacement have pulverized the normal but cozy life he used to own.

"Before the conflict, I worked as a plumber, earning about 500 U.S. dollars a month," the 32-year-old father recalled. "It wasn't lavish, but it sustained my family and allowed us to weather tough times."

Life was simpler then, filled with modest celebrations and dreams of a brighter future for his children. However, everything changed months ago when Emad and his family were forcibly evacuated by the Israeli army.

"We sought refuge in tents in Al-Mawasi, Khan Younis, hearing the constant barrage of Israeli attacks on our neighborhoods," he recounted. Returning home one day, Emad was devastated to find his house reduced to rubble.

With necessities like water, food, and electricity in short supply, Emad and his children now endure long queues for survival essentials. "I used to buy food and clean water without worry," he reminisced, "but now, we sometimes resort to drinking salt water, which takes a toll on our health."

Even securing basic meals became challenging for Emad's wife, Fatima, without cooking gas.

"For months now, I've cooked over firewood," Fatima explained. "It kept us warm during the winter, but in this scorching summer, it's unbearable to be near the fire even for a few minutes."

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) estimated that about 1.7 million Palestinians, about 75 percent of Gaza's total population, are now displaced in areas like Khan Younis and central Gaza, with many of them experiencing displacement multiple times.

"Families in Gaza continue to flee in search of safety," remarked the UNRWA in a statement on Monday, highlighting the desperate quest for security amidst relentless turmoil.

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