Life in Gaza Under the Shadow of Conflict
Since the escalation of violence on October 7, 2023, Gaza has lost at least 3,800 people, with 12,900
more injured. Numerous residents have been forced to seek refuge in hospitals, UNRWA facilities, and
churches. The shortage of electricity, water, and food supplies, especially for hospitals, has exacerbated
the humanitarian crisis.
"Do you know what I wish for right now?". He said, "If circumstances dictate that I must face the
consequences of this war, I hope to be the first among my family members to go, sparing me the pain of
witnessing them suffer." This was conveyed by a Caritas Jerusalem Gaza team member to a Caritas
Jerusalem HQ colleague during a phone call.
Many people in the Gaza Strip live in fear and despair as they witness the death and destruction of their
loved ones and their homes.
While speaking with a doctor working for Caritas in Gaza, we heard firsthand about her experience,
which vividly illustrates the personal toll this dispute has taken. She, along with her husband and
children, were forced to flee their house to avoid the impending assault. Although she initially told us
she was fine, she eventually broke down in tears. While she and her small family evacuated, her father,
mother, and brother refused to leave and remained in the north. They made this choice in an attempt to
divide themselves into two groups, hoping to avoid a scenario where all of them might be affected by a
single shelling. She left her home not knowing if she would ever see her other family members again,
underscoring the heartbreaking decisions that Gazans are forced to make in these extraordinarily
Few days ago, Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza was hit, tragically claiming the lives of medical teams,
patients, and displaced vulnerable children and adults seeking shelter within the hospital's walls. The
incident serves as a grim reminder of the harsh realities faced by the non-combatant civilians in Gaza.
Just last night, in a heart-breaking turn of events, the hall adjacent to The St. Porphyrios Church in
Gaza, which provided refuge for 411 people, was struck by a rocket. Among the sheltered were 5
dedicated members of Caritas Jerusalem's staff, along with their families.
Within the hall, a total of 83 individuals sought safety. Tragically, Viola, a 26-year-old CJ lab
technician, lost her life alongside her toddler and husband. Additionally, Viola's sister and two children
were among the casualties.
As of now, the toll stands at 17 lives lost, with dozens more sustaining injuries. Regrettably, these
numbers are expected to climb.
The church was not only a place of worship but also a relief center that provided food, clothing, and
medical care to the displaced and other vulnerable groups. As Caritas Jerusalem, we express our grief
and outrage over the tragedy that targeted these innocent people.
In the face of heart-wrenching developments in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, we continue to hold
onto hope for a return to peace in the Holy Land. As Caritas Jerusalem, our mission remains
unwavering. Caritas Jerusalem is committed to providing support and relief to those enduring
unimaginable hardships, and our vision is one of peace, compassion, and unity.
We hope humanitarian corridors will be opened soon so we can deliver food and medicines to the
civilians who desperately need them. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this
ongoing conflict. We remain dedicated to our mission, calling for an end to the violence and seeking a
just and lasting solution for the people of Gaza and the region.
Friday, 20 October 2023