Conflict with neighboring Israel compounds misery for many of Gaza's 1.8 million inhabitants
Since Tuesday, residents have been without electricity
Gaza resident Yasmeen El Khoudary, 24: "We only eat when we remember to eat"
Nafoz Mohammed is living in a cramped two-room apartment with 16 other people, including several children, who spend the day- and nighttime hours holed up in fear.
“All the children feel so scared when they cut the electricity,” said Mohammed, who shares the tight space with others whose homes were hit by artillery. “They just keep holding their mothers.”
For the more than 1.8 million people squeezed into a territory about twice the size of Washington, chaos has always infringed on the daily rhythms of life.
But the latest conflict with neighboring Israel has compounded the misery of many.
Since Tuesday, residents have been without electricity. Without television. Without refrigeration. Without water pumps and sewage systems.
For the fortunate few who can afford them, buzzing generators provide some relief.
At the main hospital, already stretched by weeks of fighting that left more than 1,500 people dead and thousands wounded, a pair of mega-generators powered crucial life-support equipment.
Days after Gaza’s only power plant was hit, the latest attempt at a cease-fire fell apart Friday after Israel said that one of its soldiers was captured by Palestinian militants.
Gaza residents were left with the anxiety of an uncertain future.
‘Killing civilian life in Gaza’
As has happened with so many aspects of the conflict, the principals blamed each for the power plant’s demise.
Palestinian officials pointed at an Israeli airstrike. Israel insisted that the power plant was not a target.
By early Tuesday, at least 40% of Gaza’s fuel had been burned, according to Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy chairman of the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority in Gaza. The plant, which will have to be rebuilt, will not operate as it did for at least a year.
“This is a disaster,” he said.
He said a 300,000-liter fuel tank – which supplied about a day of electricity in Gaza – was hit and burst into flames. Heavy shelling delayed firefighters from responding, allowing the fire to spread to other fuel tanks.