OCHA Humanitarian Bulletin for Occupied Palestinian Territory: Gaza After the May Escalation – November 2021

This issue of the Humanitarian Bulletin tells the stories of everyday Gazan people struggling to live in the aftermath of the May 2021 hostilities, and offers insights into the impact of displacement, gender-based violence, mental health, environmental and health risks, and destruction of livelihoods.


A child in Gaza beside a destroyed structure from the May escalation, 9 June 2021. Photo by OCHA

The 11-days of intense fighting, 10-21 May 2021, between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip, was the gravest since 2014. In Gaza, civilians were killed and injured. Tens of thousands were displaced. Homes and vital infrastructure were destroyed or damaged and the supply of basic services was severely disrupted.

The destroyed agrochemical warehouse, July 2021. Photo by OCHA.

“I wish I had been inside the warehouse when it was bombed.” On 15 May, the largest warehouse for agricultural supplies in the Gaza Strip was destroyed in Beit Lahia, Northern Gaza, by Israeli artillery shelling. The thick smoke and the burning agrochemicals and plastic supplies produced intense, unpleasant fumes that lasted for weeks.

Women attending a yoga session at AISHA, 2020. Photo by AISHA.

“It took me five years to build a house of my own and move out of my abusive in-laws’ where we all were living together. Within seconds, my new dream home was destroyed.” Reem is now renting a flat for a period of six months. Once ended, she and her children are at risk of being homeless.

Kamal and three of his children. On the wall is a photo of his son Ibrahim who was killed in the escalation of 2008/09. Beit Lahiya, 7 July 2021. Photo by OCHA.

Kamal and Wafa’a Awaja (aged 60 and 40), and their 14 children, have experienced displacement three times in the last 12 years. The trauma of their son Ibrahim’s killing and their multiple displacement never abates.

Mohammed in his tomatoes field. Photo by OCHA, July 2021.

Mohammed, a 35 year-old father of ten, grows tomatoes in Rafah, southern Gaza. Following the May escalation, Israel first suspended all exports out of Gaza for about 40 days, costing farmers some US$12 million in losses. New restrictions were then imposed, including the demand that the green stem, the sprig, be removed from every single tomato before exiting Gaza.

Girls participating in the drawing corner. 5 July 2021. Photo by OCHA.

“I was really terrified during the war, but here at the summer fun weeks I am not. I love drawing the most. I want to draw everything. I will be very sad when the activities are over. I wish I could join for more than one week”.


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