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Jehad: I had no idea who was dead or alive

Explosive weapons
Palestine

Jehad is 24. She was evacuated from her home on the first day of Eid after a warning missile hit her neighbourhood, and she moved to her uncle’s house.

A photo of a building destroyed by air-strikes in teh summer of 2014. Gaza.

A photo of a building destroyed by air-strikes in teh summer of 2014. Gaza. | © N. Boedicker / Handicap International

“During dinner time, the house was severely targeted. We were bombed from every side… I carried my daughter Rahaf and my son Jamal to hide them under the stairs with the rest of the family members. We were 33 people; I saw everyone who fled the house to go outside getting killed… I had to flee out shortly after because the place was getting too dusty and smoky, we couldn’t see each other anymore. We had to go outside, whatever our fate would be… I carried my two kids in my arms outside on the street, but I saw a rocket and I felt shrapnel on by body and my eyes burnt. My children felt from my arms, screaming, so I bent on them to protect them from explosions. My daughter Rahaf stopped screaming suddenly, I thought she was dead. The bombings lasted for an hour”.

When the ambulance arrived, the first rescuer got killed before being able to assist her and her children. Another team managed to get her to the hospital, alone, without her kids.

Jehad lost her sight, and had multiple injuries; she spent 3 days at the hospital without any news from her family. “I had no idea who was dead or alive”. She was then referred to Al Maqased hospital in West Bank for 35 days; and when she returned to Gaza, she realized most of her family had been killed: husband, parents, uncles, brothers and her infant daughter.

“I still neither accept nor believe that I lost my family… During my 35 days in hospital, my only dream was to come back to Gaza and live with everyone again”.

While she was hospitalized, she received caregiving support from family members, mostly from one of her cousins who took care of the kids.

According to traditions, she had to marry her husband’s young brother who is younger than her. Since she wouldn’t leave her children, she accepted this new marriage and stayed for her kids.

“My younger daughter Baraka can’t cope with the situation, she always looks at her father’s pictures. My son Jamal also misses him a lot. I hope I will be able to start a new life with my new husband, but I feel that society doesn’t accept my situation, and I cannot access services due to the permanent disability I acquired”. The grandfather is unemployed and cannot afford the needs of the family.

Date published: 11/05/15

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