(This account by an anonymous author was published today in The Independent, a London newspaper and web site.)
I live in Gaza City – I do not know whether we will live or die.
From my home in Gaza City, I see thick pillars of smoke which hang over us, blurring the skies, and I smell gunpowder. I hear children all around crying, terrified, while the blasts get closer and louder.
The bombing is non-stop, day and night for over 72 hours now. At night it gets worse, as the blasts reverberate louder and stronger while the electricity is off.
I see the news of Israel’s siege and blockade of Gaza, denying any entry of fuel, water, goods, or food, despite the pre-existing shortages in those areas. I work in the humanitarian sector, but things are so dire we can’t begin to help affected and displaced people.
We have previously been getting only three to four hours of electricity per day, which will now be reduced if fuel can’t get to Gaza’s only power plant. Water in Gaza is already scarce, and the lack of electricity will make it scarcer still.
Things happened so fast we did not get the chance to stock up on supplies. We only have food to last a few days. We do not usually stock heavily due to the daily power outage of 8 to 12 hours that does not allow for food to be preserved and remain edible.
There is no way to leave Gaza. We have only two crossings, one with Israel – Erez, which is now closed – and one with Egypt – Rafah, which only allows a certain number of people through. There are no shelters in Gaza.
It’s hard to predict what will be safe areas, or whether “safe areas” exist at all. Survivors of the airstrikes or those who managed to evacuate their homes in time seek refuge in the homes of family, friends, or colleagues. Many lie dead under the rubble.
According to health officials, at least 687 Palestinians have now been killed, with over 3,800 injured. Dozens of children are among those killed and wounded.
We are seeing whole families and neighbourhoods wiped out. High-rises, apartments and houses have been levelled to the ground.
I do not know whether we will live or die.