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Handing out aid amidst the bombing

Yesterday was the first time in nine days that I was able to leave my house.

It is about a 10 minute journey from my home to the warehouse where the Save the Children food parcels are stored – but even as I drove the Save the Children car to work, I felt very afraid.

The noise from the bombings was so loud. There were very few cars on the roads and all of the shops were closed.

I saw three buildings that had been completely destroyed.

At the warehouse I waited for our volunteer staff who help to distribute our food parcels across different parts of the Gaza Strip.

When we distribute the parcels we work in groups because it is so dangerous.

The volunteers packed their cars with the parcels and headed out to different parts of Gaza City and the north of the Strip.

Although they are volunteers we will give them some money because it is dangerous work.

One of our volunteers, Eyad, was distributing parcels in the beach camp when a huge bomb went off. By chance he is still alive.

It is really very difficult but we have to do this. It is an excellent achievement that we can provide humanitarian aid in these areas.

When I had spent more than four hours working in the warehouse I asked the warehouse owner to call my husband to let him know that I was okay. My husband said that I should come back home, so I left the warehouse feeling very afraid about the journey back.

We prioritise distributing our food parcels to families with many children. Our selection criteria mean that every home with five or more children should receive our parcels but we wish we could reach more families. Some are in dire need of our help.

Eyad distributed 184 parcels in Gaza yesterday.

Half of all the parcels have now been handed out. The other half will go to the south of the Strip but there are some areas we cannot reach because of the situation.

Today we are very busy because we are trying to assess the needs of some hospitals in the Gaza Strip. A doctor told us they are in urgent need of bed covers, doctor’s coats, scrubs and gauze pads.

We are lucky because when we called the medical vendors we managed to track down some of these supplies. Right now we are assessing our budget and then tomorrow we will start to distribute these supplies to the Kamal Edwan hospital in the north and to other clinics in Gaza.

Every morning, I evaluate the situation to see if I can leave the house. Today, for example, I could not move at all so I am working from home. Ramsey, my colleague, lives close to the office and the warehouse is working with me to get these supplies out to the places where they are needed.

I cannot promise that I will be able to leave the house tomorrow either but I can promise that by 11am tomorrow, Ramsey will get these medical supplies to the hospitals regardless of the security situation.
It is like an earthquake here. If you could only hear the bombs going off.

I have five blankets covering my legs because it is so cold. All of my children have five blankets on them too. Every minute there is a bomb.

I am a strong woman. If I saw a person die, I can stop and help and be strong, but in this situation I feel that I cannot do anything.

When I was driving the car yesterday, I felt very faint. How will they know it is a woman driving this car, I thought. Even if it has a Save the Children logo, they still would not know.

It is the same across the whole Gaza Strip. You cannot find a safe area at all.

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