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Oxfam in Gaza: "I don't know if the people I met are alive or dead"

Posted by Arwa Mhanna Oxfam Communications Officer in Gaza

31st Jul 2014

Last weekend a brief 12 hour cessation of hostilities was announced in Gaza. Oxfam teams were able to deliver vital water and aid to people who have fled their homes and lost everything. Soon afterwards, the violence resumed. A permanent ceasefire, and an end to the blockade of Gaza, is urgently needed before countless more lives are lost. Oxfam's Arwa Mhanna travelled around Gaza City in the brief window of calm.


More than 215,000 people across Gaza have fled and sought refuge in schools, mosques, churches and hospitals. During the weekend ceaesfire I went to Al Shifa hospital, where Oxfam and our local partners are delivering safe water to families sheltering there. They are in desperate conditions and have almost nothing: little food, water or shelter. But they have no other option. It's the safest place they could find, even though many hospitals and health clinics have also been bombed and shelled. I spoke with one of the doctors, who was completely exhausted after days treating dozens of injured civilians. His eyes were full of tears as he told me of the casualties, the conditions people are living in, and how he wished he could help them more. There were no words to express how I felt.

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The ceasefire lasted only 12 hours, and as I write the violence has returned. On Monday, Al Shifa hospital - where I met so many brave people - was hit, with many casualties being reported. I don't know if the people I met are alive or dead.

The killing must stop for good. I hope the world is listening to the mothers, fathers and children of Gaza and will help bring peace before more of them are killed. 

Listen to Arwa on the struggle to celebrate Eid in Gaza:


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Header Image: Oxfam and local partner YEC are delivering safe water to more than 40,000 people who were forced to flee their homes. More than 215,000 people have now fled and have nowhere safe to go. Many are sheltering in schools - more than 100 of which have also been damaged by Israeli shelling and airstrikes. Oxfam teams deliver water to this school in Beach Refugee Camp. Credit: Iyad al Baba

Blog post written by Arwa Mhanna

Oxfam Communications Officer in Gaza

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