Hunger spreads, hope stays out of reach

A man injured when Israel carried out a massacre of people waiting for aid southwest of Gaza City this week. 

Mohammed Ali Xinhua News Agency

My aunt Leila has remained in Gaza City.

Earlier this week, I called and inquired if she and her extended family were able to get hold of food.

“I only have some dried food and beans,” she said.

For more than a month, the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) has been unable to deliver aid in the northern half of Gaza.

Yousef, my cousin, asked if I could send him flour.

“My children are starving,” he said. “And I’ve nothing to feed them except beans, which will never fill their stomachs.”

Since I spoke to him, more than 100 people were massacred by Israel on al-Rashid street, southwest of Gaza City. They were waiting for aid when Israel attacked them.

Around 750 people were injured.

Another relative of mine told me that his family has to eat animal food so that they can stay alive.

My own immediate family fled our Gaza City home during October. We left behind onions and beans.

My uncle – who is still in the area – told me the onions are gone now. “Someone was obviously looking for food for their children,” he said.

A high-ranking humanitarian official with the United Nations has just declared that without action, widespread famine is almost inevitable. A number of infants have been reported to have died from malnutrition in Gaza’s hospitals over the past few days.


Like approximately 1.3 million others, I am now in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city.

Some food and medicine have been dropped on Rafah from the air.

Along with my brother and a friend, I recently ran toward some packages that were dropped from a plane. We failed to reach them in time.

A huge crowd gathered on the shore when one consignment of aid – donated by Jordan – was dropped into the sea this week. Some people went into the water on foot, others in small boats.

The consignment of aid was inadequate. Much more is required in this terrible situation.

The aid needs to be delivered in a large-scale operation and in an efficient manner. Aid drops into the sea cannot be regarded as efficient.

My brother Yousef has warned me against trying to fetch aid dropped into the sea.

“Don’t ever go swimming in the sea,” he said. “The warships are watching us. They might strike us.”

Ramadan is approaching.

During this holy month, we fast from dawn until the sun sets.

For fasting, we need sustenance – which we clearly do not have at the moment.

We are anxious for news of a ceasefire. It is the only thing that can bring us hope.

Younes Al-Hallaq is a writer in Gaza.