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The Current Reality of Life in Gaza

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In response to the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, Israel imposed a complete siege on the Gaza Strip, cutting off essential supplies to the more than two million Palestinians living in Gaza. Thousands of airstrikes were launched, and ground forces were sent in to root out Hamas. After seven weeks of war, the first cease-fire took hold last Friday, allowing dozens of trucks with water and other vital aid to cross into Gaza as part of a hostage agreement between Israel and Hamas.

Even with the cease-fire, the flow of aid was much less than what Gazans need, and there was no indication that the freer flow of aid would last beyond the four-day truce. Before the cease-fire, little humanitarian aid was trickling into Gaza, and residents have been struggling every day to meet their most basic needs.

Survival has become a full-time, perilous undertaking, with people cramming into ever-shrinking spaces in tented camps, schools, and hospitals. Tricked to fetch water, bake bread, and buy diapers has become a day-to-day challenge. With inadequate aid reaching Gaza, many people lack clean water and rely on brackish water from unsafe wells, as well as facing dwindling supplies of flour, dairy products, and other essentials. The World Food Program has warned that only 10 percent of the food Gaza needs has entered the territory during the war, resulting in a “massive food gap and widespread hunger.”

The United Nations has reported that mineral water trucked into the territory in aid convoys has only been enough for 4 percent of the population, and flour is running out due to the destruction of wheat mills. Canned tuna, date bars, and bread have only been delivered to about a quarter of the population, and the distribution is hampered by fighting and the siege. The situation is dire, with widespread hunger and a lack of essential supplies. Hamas must come to a peaceful resolution with Israel to ensure the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza are met.

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Photo credit www.nytimes.com

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