Fatima's Story

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Forced to flee her home to the nearest shelter during Israeli assault on Gaza in July 2014

Fatima, widowed mother of 3; Mariam 9 years old, Zuhdi 8 years old, and Jaser 6. Her story from Shujaiya, Gaza:

"We thought the crisis of 2008/09 - which we want to forget - was the hardest on us. Until now. I live in a small apartment in my family’s house, in Shujaiya neighbourhood.  I do not want to tell you about the past few days of daily shelling, but yesterday we saw death. We didn’t expect to survive. Yesterday, the first warning bomb was so close to us. A sign we had to leave immediately. We started running out of the house, but one of my children wasn’t running with us. I turned back to find him inside the house. As we were almost 3 metres away, the house next to us was brought down by the F16… all this in few minutes.

I was running with my brothers and sisters, my three children, and my mother who is a cancer patient. We couldn’t take anything from our homes. All I own for myself and my children is now under the rubble. As we were running… we saw the bodies on the street, I knew some of them, they were from Badawi and Qattami family, also an orphaned family from the previous war. All were running, my brothers were taking turns carrying my mother, until we reached al Zaytoona Street, then Tal al Hawa. The bombing didn’t stop! We reached the UNRWA school miraculously. It had just opened as a shelter for our neighbourhood.

We have been fasting for two days, we do not have any food or water.  I actually fainted several times, and the emergency responders had to give me IV fluids. We were able to find a mattress for my sick mother. There are so many people, there is no food for the children. I lost everything I have, where am I to go after this?!

My children are in shock, though they have undergone a lot of psychological treatment sessions to overcome their trauma from 2008/2009. My children and I are totally psychologically scarred.

It is unbearable what we have suffered and seen with our own eyes… we hope Welfare Association stays with us this time also.”

Fatima and her children are one of 1080 families supported by the Welfare Association 'Mustaqbali Programme' - project supporting children who were orphaned due to the Israeli bombardment of Gaza in 2008/09. And currently, one of approximately 76,000 people displaced due to the ongoing Israeli military actions in Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas of the world.