A Perspective: Islamic Relief staff in Gaza on being under bombardment
“Glass flew over our heads”
As the bombing of Gaza gets worse, Islamic Relief staff are not only helping to provide aid – they and their families are directly affected by the bombardment.
Several of our staff have witnessed horrific moments. Their homes have been bombed, their children and relatives injured, and they have been forced to flee in search of safety.
Hend*, one of Islamic Relief’s project coordinators in Gaza, was at home with her family when the bombing hit around 6am:
“My family and I have had horrible moments that I cannot describe or forget. There was heavy bombing in the area where we live and shards of glass flew above our heads.
“My daughter’s leg was cut and injured from the glass. It was very dangerous but with difficulty we managed to reach a medical centre to get treatment.
“As we fled our house I saw the fear in my children’s eyes. But I didn’t know how to ease their fear, as the bombardment didn’t stop for a second.
“Now we are sheltering with relatives. My children still can’t sleep as they are afraid that the bombing will return when they are asleep. At night they wake up terrified.
“I don’t know what happened to my house, but we can’t go back yet as there is still bombing in the area. This morning the block next to ours was also blown up.”
Hassan*, who works in our Gaza office, managed to escape just before bombs hit the residential block where he lives with his family.
“The bombs hit next door, early in the morning. Some of the walls of my house collapsed, windows smashed and furniture was destroyed. Other walls were so badly damaged they need to be removed. My house is now uninhabitable.
“We fled the house just a few minutes before the bombing, looking for a safer place. But there is no safe place. The bombing continues everywhere.
“Everyone was horrified – children, women and men. Now we are scattered among relatives. Fifteen families were made homeless in an instant, including my brothers.
“I’ve been working for Islamic Relief for more than 16 years, through many emergencies and wars. Islamic Relief is one of the first organisations to provide urgent aid for families. It’s been very difficult to live through the same experiences as the people we are helping.”
Islamic Relief is calling for an immediate end to the escalation in violence against civilians across the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, and for international law to be upheld. Civilians and civilian infrastructure must never be targeted. We are also calling for an end to the Israeli occupation and for a lasting solution that is rooted in international law and justice.
*Names have been changed to protect identities