Egyptian medics prepare to transfer injured people after evacuations from the Gaza Strip, upon arrival at Rafah border crossing, in Rafah, Egypt, 15 November 2023. EFE-EPA/STR

Gaza’s journey to refuge marred by pervasive hunger, streets littered with corpses

By Anas Baba

Foreign passport holders get their luggage checked after evacuation from the Gaza Strip, at Rafah border crossing, in Rafah, Egypt, 15 November 2023. EFE-EPA/STR

Rafah, Gaza, Nov 17 (EFE).- The journey to safety for Palestinians escaping the deadly conflict in Gaza is a nightmare of haunting lifeless bodies strewn on roads, pervasive hunger, and unrelenting fear.

As Israel’s offensive persists in the besieged enclave, stories of survival and suffering on the road to refuge get more sordid with every raconteur.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have fled their homes in Gaza to seek refuge in the southern city of Rafah and escape the hell Israel rains on the besieged enclave.

The evacuation, often termed a “journey of death,” involves navigating through ravaged neighborhoods to reach the sporadically open evacuation route on the Salah al-Din road.

“It has been an inconceivable extermination war,” said a Palestinian who identified himself as Mohamed from the Sabra neighborhood in Gaza, recalling the horrors of bombs, destruction, and bodies lying on the streets.

The Salah al-Din road has been used by many of the more than 1.5 million Gazans—out of a total of 2.3 million—displaced since the start of the war.

The displaced Gazans are now crowded in the southern towns of the enclave.

Mohamed urged those remaining in Gaza to leave, emphasizing the unbearable conditions and persistent attacks.

A member of the al-Barraui family from Beit Hanoun said they received threats from Israel to evacuate on the first day of the war.

Despite initially staying in the north, the al-Barraui described the situation as the worst moment of their lives, with no safe place, stability, security, or human rights.

They were told on their mobile phones to leave their homes and move to the south before they took refuge in a school.

The Palestinian said they preferred to stay in the north until they could no longer take it. “There is not a single safe place in Gaza.”

Like the rest of the displaced, the al-Barraui said they were asked to raise their hands and show their IDs when they reached the Salah al-Din road.

Gazan Nazal Abu Saada, a resident of the Yabalia neighborhood, told EFE about the terror and hunger over the last month, particularly in the last three days.

She said they were home when they received “threats” from Israeli authorities to go to the south.

They endured three days without proper food, mostly hiding under a table, surviving only on dates and a little water at a hospital.

The Red Crescent’s negotiation with Israelis allowed them an hour to leave the hospital, walking with raised hands and witnessing the aftermath of the attacks.

Jaula Hashem said her house was bombed after they abandoned it.

“Every now and then, they threw bombs at us — bombs and more bombs. What more do they want to do than what they have already done?” Hashem said, breaking down as she recalled how they killed her father.

Abu Atal, from the Sabra neighborhood, said the last three days had been terrifying, marked by continuous attacks, sleepless nights, and the inability to comprehend the situation.

“It’s something terrifying. This is not a war,” said Abu Atal, recounting a tale of the displaced Palestinians that depicted harrowing forced evacuation, continuous threats, and the struggle for survival as the conflict rages. EFE