More than a million Gazans have to leave their homes

gaza, Palestinian Children

This article was last updated on October 13, 2023

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Gazans forced to leave their homes

The call by the Israeli army to Palestinians in northern Gaza to leave for the south, leads to panic and chaos. This forces more than a million Palestinians to leave their homes.

It is impossible to move 1.1 million people safely, says a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent. The United Nations calls on Israel to withdraw the call. The eviction signals that a ground offensive by the Israeli army is imminent in response to last weekend’s Hamas attack on Israel.

Gaza residents fear what a ground war will mean for them. “Forget food, forget electricity, forget fuel. The only concern now is whether you will make it, whether you will live,” says the Palestinian Red Crescent. About two million people live in the Gaza Strip, on a piece of land that is approximately twice as large as the land area of ​​Texel. It is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

Hamas calls on Palestinians not to leave their homes

Hamas has now called on Palestinians not to leave their homes. According to Hamas – which controls the area – the Israeli army’s evacuation order is intended to sow confusion and “damage the cohesion of our front”. Palestinians must ignore this “psychological warfare”, Hamas said.

Area closed

“It’s chaos, no one understands what we have to do,” Inas Hamdan told the AP news agency. She works for a UN refugee organization for Palestinian refugees in Gaza City. In the meantime, she is also hastily packing her things.

She said all UN staff in northern Gaza have been instructed to go to Rafah in the south, on the border with Egypt. The Gaza Strip is hermetically sealed off from the outside world. Both Israel and Egypt keep the border closed.

Israel has imposed a complete blockade of the area since the beginning of the week. As a result, no water, food and electricity enter the area. A major humanitarian disaster is looming for the residents of Gaza. More than 420,000 people have already arrived in recent days been displaced by the Israeli bombings.

Wounded in hospitals

Moving more than a million people safely is impossible, says the spokesman for the Palestinian Red Crescent. “What will happen to our patients? We have injured people, we have elderly people, we have children who are in hospitals.” According to him, many doctors refuse to evacuate hospitals and leave their patients behind.

Many injured people cannot make the journey south, confirms Lydia de Leeuw, chairman of the Kifaia foundation, an organization that supports medical aid organizations in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, the water is cut off, so flights would have to be without water.

De Leeuw himself lived in the Gaza Strip for two years and tries to help colleagues and friends from a distance, such as a good friend with four children who lives in Gaza City. “She doesn’t know what to do; going out on the street is unsafe and so is staying at home.”

Her friend’s family has decided to stay together anyway, partly because of a heavily pregnant daughter and mother with a leg in a cast. “They say: if we have to die, then together. But we are not going to split up.”

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