Erin Cunningham

Drug addiction on the rise in besieged Gaza

GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - They are little white, yellow or green pills and are available almost anywhere. At the pharmacies or in the market, they are accessible, addictive and cheap. “I take them because it makes me forget, at least for a little while, that I’m in Gaza,” says Abu Alaa, a resident of the strip and father of four. “There is no alternative.” Looking to escape years of war, searing poverty and an unrelenting economic blockade, medical officials in the Gaza Strip say residents have developed a serious addiction to the narcotic painkiller Tramadol. 

Gaza's emerging trash crisis

GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - Suliman Khodari begins his shift at 5am on one of Gaza City’s busiest streets. With his horse-drawn cart, Suliman spends seven hours every morning hauling away the rubbish left by residents and shop owners of the neighborhood. But he is not a scavenger. Suliman is one of 150 animal cart owners currently collecting garbage for the Gaza City municipality. 

Returning to the scene of a Gaza war crime

KHUZAA, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - Khuzaa is a small farming village perched on a gentle slope east of Khan Younis. Tthe relative quiet of this rural border town, about 25 kilometers southeast of Gaza City, was shattered 10 January when Israeli forces launched an all-out, three-day assault that killed 16 civilians and destroyed many of Khuzaa’s houses and its agricultural land. 

Gaza families down to a meal a day

GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - Umm Abdullah cannot remember the last time she was able to feed meat to her eight children. She does know that for the past week the single meal she cooked for them each day consisted only of lentils. And that on one day, she had received aid coupons from the United Nations, which she subsequently sold to buy tomatoes and eggplant at the local market. 

Environment emerges as a major casualty

GAZA CITY (IPS) - Countless fruit groves across the Gaza Strip are now gone, entire farms bulldozed. The remains of thousands of destroyed homes emit toxic asbestos, while dilapidated infrastructure dumps raw sewage into the Mediterranean Sea. An already deepening environmental crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip has been further compounded by the recent war. 

Tunnels become a lifeline

RAFAH, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - Pickup trucks speed westward on the Barth highway that flanks the Israeli border in Egypt’s North Sinai region, stacked high with cartons of petrol. They are headed “for Gaza,” the Bedouin residents of Barth village say — through the tunnels that burrow under the Egypt-Gaza border and are filling Gaza’s aid gap in the aftermath of Israel’s deadly assault on the territory. 

Aid rots outside Gaza

AL-ARISH, Egypt (IPS) - Hundreds of thousands of tons of aid intended for the Gaza Strip is piling up in cities across Egypt’s North Sinai region, despite recent calls from the United Nations to ease aid flow restrictions to the embattled territory in the wake of Israel’s 22-day assault. 

Under the bombing, a girl named Hope

GAZA CITY (IPS) - Ghalia Hussein’s husband refused to evacuate their Rafah home near the Israeli border amid heavy bombardment during the recent 22-day siege. Struck by a missile at the top of their stairs, he bled to death while ambulances attempted to reach him. He left Ghalia three children, a destroyed home, and no income to speak of. “I had to flee with the children. There was nothing we could do.” 

Unexploded bombs hold more deaths

GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - At first the 44 children that live in the Zani family home in Beit Hanoun were wary of the unexploded F-16 rocket whose tail has protruded menacingly from their garden since it landed in the first week of the Israeli assault on Gaza. Now, they have grown used to it — playing excitedly near it and even building fires next to it, a relative says. 

Alarm spreads over use of lethal new weapons

GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - Eighteen-year-old Mona al-Ashkar says she did not immediately know the first explosion at the UN school in Beit Lahiya had blown her left leg off. There was smoke, then chaos, then the pain and disbelief set in once she realized it was gone — completely severed by the weapon that hit her. Mona is one of the many patients among the 5,500 injured that have international and Palestinian doctors baffled by the type of weaponry used in the Israeli operation.