ASH SHUJA'IYEH, GAZA CITY
Photos by UNRWA
In mid-July 2014, during the escalated hostilities with Israel, Afaf was forced – along with her husband and their nine children – to evacuate their home in Ash Shuja’iyeh, Gaza city, which was severely damaged. They took refuge at an UNRWA shelter.
The terrifying ordeal was made worse when the family realized that their son, Imad, was missing.
❝I could not eat or sleep; I realized that we had left our son behind in the demolished house,❞ said Afaf, who was then 42 years old.
❝My husband and I took advantage of the first humanitarian truce and approached the home to look for him. We found him alive under the rubble, scared but unharmed.❞
After the ceasefire, the family had no home to return to, so they moved to an UNRWA Collective Centre.
❝Life here is difficult despite the support and aid we receive…❞ she told us then. ❝We really hope to move out and rebuild our home. It is difficult to locate an apartment for rent for 11 people,❞ said Afaf.
Restrictions on the import of goods, including basic construction materials, imposed by Israel as part of its blockade, have complicated, delayed and, in some cases prevented reconstruction and repair of destroyed or severely damaged homes.
In other cases, where goods are available, families lack the financial resources to purchase them due to the poor economic situation in Gaza caused largely by the years-long blockade.