War in Gaza: ”The children know they can die”

Many people of Gaza are trapped in their homes, says DCA employee in Gaza, who himself is staying indoor with his frightened family
©Folkekirkens Nødhjælp
Shiama Almasri, 5, has lost her ​​mother and two siblings in an airstrike and she is now receiving treatment at a hospital in Gaza. Shima and her father was the only survivors in the family.

Omar Al Majdalawi is living with his family in Gaza North that has been the scene of some of the heaviest bombardments during the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel. He is the Programme Manager of DanChurchAid’s activities in the small strip of land. Several times airstrikes nearby have shaken the house where he lives with his wife and four children.
The oldest child, his ten year old daughter, is experiencing the third war of her lifetime and she is well aware what is going on. She knows that the massive blasts are not just fireworks as Omar Al Majdalawi has tried to convince her they are.
“Now she has told me not to tell her that it is just wedding fireworks. Because it is war. The children know that it is war, and they know that they can die. It is very stressful for them,” says the concerned father.
The conflict in Gaza

The current conflict between Israel and Hamas has been going on for one week now and has cost 178 Palestinians their live. So far no Israelis have died.
Conflict started after three Israeli teenagers was abducted and killed on July 12th on the West Bank and afterwards a killing of a 16 year old Palestinian boy.
Hamas is launching rockets from Gaza targeting Israel however most of them is successfully shot down by the Israel defences. Israel has launched a heavy bombardment of targets in the dense populated Gaza.

He tells that after a week of bombardments it seems like the children have found some way to cope with it. At least now they react less dramatically when they hear the blasts than they did in the first couple of days. During that week at least 178 Palestinians have been killed – among these 133 civilians.

Help to traumatized families

DanChurchAid’s normal activities in Gaza are affected by the crisis. Among other things we work with psycho social support and after the work had been put on hold a couple of days the team is now working again providing help to some of the most traumatized people in the area.
We are also working on providing humanitarian aid in form of food and medicine as a response to the current crisis.
Omar Al Majdalawi is frustrated that he at the moment cannot do even more for his countrymen.
“As a aid worker it is your job to help and protect people and make sure that they suffer as little as possible. Right now we cannot protect them,” he says.

Stop the killing machine

Asked about the humanitarian situation he says that the ongoing conflict is worsening the already bad situation in Gaza.

©Said Khatib/AFP/Scanpix
Large explosions have shaken Omar Al Majdalawis house several times

”In this area 1.8 million people have lived under siege and blockade for years. People are depended on aid. People are unemployed. The drinking water is unhealthy. We are isolated. We have no natural resources. How do you find words for that?” he asks.
”It is very bad,” he says.
At the moment Israel and Hamas are considering a ceasefire agreement proposed by the Egyptian government, and Omar Al Majdalawi is hoping for a swift solution.
“Let us save both money and lives and stop this killing machine,” he says.