No water, no food, no privacy

Palestinians walk on the street near al-Nasser hospital and schools run by UNRWA in Khan Younis, Gaza. (Mohammed Talatene / DPA via ZUMA Press) 

Do you ever wonder about those sheltering in schools?

Life in Gaza’s schools is chaotic. It doesn’t qualify as a proper shelter.

After being forcibly displaced by Israeli attacks, nearly 900,000 people are sheltering in facilities run by the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza.

This overcrowding is apparent everywhere. People fill up the classrooms, the stairwells and the schoolyard with makeshift tents of clothing and blankets.

Those sheltering in schools are literally starving due to the severe lack of food. They are deprived of all the basics to live.

Newborns and babies do not have the milk they require to grow.

In Gaza, death takes on many forms besides corpses and bodies mangled from explosions.

Water is scarce.

Each school typically has four water tanks that can hold up to 6,000 liters. Yet these tanks are not being filled on a daily basis.

For these tanks to be filled, water needs to be transported via truck from the main station to the school.

However, there isn’t fuel for the water trucks to operate. And even if there is fuel for the truck, a generator is needed to pump the water from the truck, and there is no fuel for such a generator.

To use the restroom, the people must wait in line. Imagine standing in line for an hour to use the restroom.

What about the children who can’t hold it for that long! This is a whole new level of suffering.

Privacy is nonexistent in the schools. One classroom hosts at least five families along with yours.

Sometimes, people split up into groups of men and women, which results in the separation of families.

Daughters are separated from fathers in these catastrophic times.

The schools could be prone to outbreaks of viruses. With the lack of cleanliness and the overcrowding, the schools could harbor pathogens that could easily pass from person to person.

From there, it could spread throughout Gaza.

Alaa Abu Shammala is a dentist in Gaza.