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Eyewitness: pulling bodies out of the rubble

6 August 2014

On the first day of the 72-hour ceasefire agreed between Hamas and Israel, civilians fearfully emerged to search their homes for any remaining possessions; most discovering complete and utter devastation.

Christian Aid’s Azzam Alsaqqa experienced this first hand.

  • This used to be a beautiful place. Now it is rubble. I can smell the gunpowder.

Mass destruction

This morning, people left the shelters and started making their way home to check on their houses. But thousands of people will find no home to go back to and so will have to return to the UN shelters.

Scenes of devastation in Gaza

Scenes of devastation in Gaza. At least 1,354 civilians have been killed.

Azzam said: ‘Today in my neighbourhood I have seen flattened homes and destroyed fishing boats. This used to be a beautiful place. Now it is rubble. I can smell the gunpowder.

‘Paramedics are starting to pull bodies out of the rubble. There is so much work to do.’

Desperation

This morning, just 30 minutes after the ceasefire came into effect, fishermen went out to sea to check on their boats and the streets were busy again with people.

‘People are so desperate,’ said Azzam. ‘Banks have been closed for a month so people have had no money to buy food. Fishermen rely on their catch in order to feed their families. They are so vulnerable.

'People really need this ceasefire so that they can meet their survival needs and live in dignity.’

Strength and courage

‘It is only now that the stories are unfolding. We can’t believe that we’ve survived. We need more time to understand the strength and courage we have.

'This morning is the first time that I am able to once again hear the birds outside my window. It is a good sound. We haven’t heard the birds for 30 days.’

Watch video

'I've been living in Gaza all my life and what we are experiencing at the moment is unbelievable, unprecedented.'

Azzam provides moving testimony about the situation in Gaza.

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