Fights in bread lines, despair in shelters: War threatens to unravel Gaza’s close-knit society

by Lucas Garcia
0 comment
Gaza conflict

Altercations erupt amidst the queues for bread, and despondency pervades the shelters as the conflict risks fragmenting the tightly-woven society of Gaza.

Violence flares up in the bread lines, and the inhabitants endure extensive waits for water that’s hardly potable, causing illness. Infectious diseases spread rapidly through the crammed shelters, and families face harrowing decisions about who will get to eat.

Suzan Wahidi, a mother of five and aid worker at a U.N. shelter in Deir al-Balah, shares the dire conditions: hours-long waits for a single toilet, no relief for her hungry, exhausted children. “I have nothing for them,” she laments.

As the Israel-Hamas conflict extends into its second month with a toll of over 10,000 casualties in Gaza, civilians caught in the crossfire are left without basic amenities like electricity and water. Those who escaped the northern ground invasion now face shortages in the south, with no foreseeable conclusion to the conflict initiated by Hamas’ lethal assault on October 7.

Over 500,000 displaced individuals are packed into hospitals and makeshift shelters in U.N. schools in the southern regions, which have turned into hotbeds for disease due to overcrowding and poor sanitation.

Further details on the Israel-Hamas conflict:

  • Israel concedes to a temporary cessation of hostilities daily for four hours, per White House statements, to permit civilian evacuations.
  • The display of posters by artists featuring Hamas-held hostages has sparked controversy.
  • Analysis of satellite imagery by the AP reveals Israel’s strategic incursion into Gaza earlier in the week.
  • An AP-NORC poll indicates that a significant portion of Democrats disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Despite hundreds of aid trucks passing through Gaza’s southern Rafah crossing since the war’s onset, it’s insufficient for the overwhelming need. The daily grind for most involves a relentless search for sustenance and enduring long queues.

The social stress has placed a strain on Gaza’s cohesive society, which has withstood numerous conflicts, four wars with Israel, and a blockade since Hamas took control.

There’s now a shift in public sentiment with some Palestinians directing their frustration at Hamas, engaging in public confrontations with officials, an unheard-of occurrence just weeks prior.

“The tension is palpable in everyone’s gaze,” observes Yousef Hammash from the Norwegian Refugee Council. “Their breaking point is near.”

Children displaced by the conflict gaze at phones in a UNDP-provided tent camp in Khan Younis, longing for normalcy.

With food supplies dwindling, bakeries closed, and limited agricultural access, families resort to cooking lentils on open fires. The absence of basic food items like meat, eggs, or milk has led to meals being reduced to once a day, raising concerns of malnutrition.

Desperate families send their relatives out in the predawn to secure bread from the few operational bakeries, armed if necessary, as violence occasionally erupts.

Families receive their rations in the south, bearing the physical marks of their struggle to obtain even the most basic necessities.

The turmoil has shaken the region, known for its strong community ties, as every social misstep is magnified.

The water supply was cut by Israel post-Hamas attack, only to be partially restored with no fuel to treat it, leaving the populace dependent on salty well water, leading to widespread health issues.

Fadi Ihjazi recounts the drastic weight loss and illness of her young son, a stark contrast to his once healthy appearance.

Medical facilities are swamped, and doctors like Ali al-Uhisi encounter an overwhelming number of patients with conditions like hepatitis A and meningitis, while basic medicines remain out of reach.

Amidst the war, Sadeia Abu Harbeid faces the grim reality of missing cancer treatments, with food so scarce she prioritizes her toddler’s nourishment over her own.

Across Gaza, rare acts of defiance against Hamas’s rule emerge, with people’s frustrations boiling over in unprecedented public dissent.

The outlook for Gaza is bleak as Israeli forces press on with their mission against Hamas, leaving an indelible mark on the region and its people.

“The Gaza I once knew is but a memory,” reflects Jehad Ghandour, a 16-year-old displaced to Rafah, mourning the loss of familiar places.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Gaza conflict

What is the current situation in Gaza’s U.N. shelters?

The U.N. shelters in Gaza, specifically in the town of Deir al-Balah, are facing severe overcrowding with hundreds sharing a single toilet, leading to outbreaks of diseases such as scabies, diarrhea, and respiratory infections. Aid workers and residents are struggling to cope with the lack of basic necessities such as adequate food, clean water, and medical supplies.

How has the Israel-Hamas war affected civilian life in Gaza?

The ongoing war has devastated civilian life in Gaza, with over 10,000 casualties. The conflict has left civilians without electricity or running water, facing a scarcity of food and medicine, especially in southern Gaza. The war has displaced over half a million people who now live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, raising the risk of malnutrition and infectious diseases.

What are some of the challenges faced by Palestinians in Gaza due to the war?

Palestinians are dealing with violent outbreaks in bread lines, severe shortages of food and clean water, and the spread of infectious diseases in overcrowded shelters. They also face the challenge of accessing basic services and commodities, as infrastructure is damaged or destroyed, and aid supplies are insufficient.

How has the conflict impacted Gaza’s social fabric?

The prolonged conflict and current war conditions have strained Gaza’s close-knit society. The stress of living under such dire circumstances has led to increased public dissent against Hamas and a rise in violence among civilians, indicating a fraying of the societal bonds that were once strong in the region.

What is the international response to the crisis in Gaza?

The international response includes temporary halts in fighting to allow civilians to flee, analysis of the situation through satellite photos, and polls to gauge public opinion on the handling of the conflict. Aid organizations have sent trucks of supplies, but the aid is not meeting the overwhelming needs of the Gazan population.

More about Gaza conflict

  • United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees
  • World Health Organization’s Gaza Conflict Page
  • Associated Press News on the Middle East
  • Amnesty International’s Crisis Response for Gaza
  • World Food Programme’s Emergency Response in Gaza
  • Doctors Without Borders’ Updates on Gaza

You may also like

Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News