Thousands of Palestinian families have fled their homes in the northern Gaza Strip after Israel warned them to leave before it attacked what it said were rocket-launching sites.
The families have sought refuge at several schools in Gaza City. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reports women and children make up a sizeable number of victims of the current Israeli air strikes.
“We want to end this siege,” explained one of the displaced women at the school, adding, “We don’t know what to do. This is the third year we have fled. Everything is under attack.”
“We have been here for two days, we are living in a school, with our children, wandering around, we don’t know where to go, we have no food or drink and we sleep on the floor,” said one of the displaced fathers.
Many of the families staying at the school don’t know if, or when, they can return home. Or even if their homes are still standing.
Al-Mezan, a Gaza-based Palestinian human rights group, said 869 Palestinian homes have been destroyed or damaged in Israeli attacks over the past week.
In a press briefing, UNRWA pointed out that, “Palestinians are not statistics and we must never allow them to be treated as such.”
“They are human beings like others in the world,” the agency said, “with their identity and the same hopes and expectations for an improved future for their children.”
As a direct result of military operations, around 17,000 refugees have sought refuge in UNRWA schools, some being displaced to the very same classrooms for the third time in five years.
Meanwhile, rockets continue to be fired at various Israeli cities from within the Strip.