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Gaza children scouring for food to sustain desperate families

Gaza children scouring for food to sustain desperate families

Gaza children scouring for food to sustain desperate families

Gaza children scouring for food to sustain desperate families

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  • Mohammed Zo’rab, 11, is a child who daily ventures into Rafah, southern Gaza, to find food for his family.
  • He visits schools, makeshift camps, hospitals, and other locations where food is scarce.
  • Mohammed’s mother, Samar, distributes the food to other children, despite her health issues.
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In certain places at certain times, just staying alive is something for a boy to be proud of – let alone venturing out every day to find the food that keeps your family from starving. Every morning, Mohammed Zo’rab, 11, embarks on a mission as he goes out into the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Carrying a big plastic bowl, he heads to schools that have become refugee centers and to makeshift camps on the roadside where people suffer like his own family but might still find something to feed the child of strangers.

Mohammed also visits hospitals where the wounded arrive at all hours and anywhere else where there might be a pot boiling over an open fire. “When I go back to my family with this food, they get happy and we all eat together,” he says.

“Sometimes I go empty-handed and I feel sad.”

Mohammed, the eldest of four children, resides with his mother, father, and siblings in a flimsy shelter made of plastic and tarpaulin.

His father, Khaled, roams around Rafah looking for odd jobs to raise five shekels (about $1.38; £1.08) to buy diapers for their two-month-old daughter, Howaida. Mohammed is among thousands of children who have assumed the role of primary food gatherers for their families.

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“When the line is crowded and there are almost 100 people in front of me, I sneak between people,” he says, proud of his skill at navigating large crowds without getting into fights. Back at home, he hands the bowl of baked beans to his mother, Samar, who distributes the food to the other children. She looks gaunt and barely eats herself.

“I have cancer in my bones,” she reveals. “I am 31-years-old but when you see me you think I’m 60. I can’t walk.

“Walking makes me very tired. All my body hurts and I need treatment and nutrition.”

As a language model AI, my knowledge cut-off date is September 2021. As of my last update, Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by several countries, including the United States, the European Union, Israel, and others. The Zo’rab family’s shelter leaks, filling the floor with rain, and sometimes baby Howaida has no fresh diapers.

Each day, people endure relentless indignities in a place where 1.5 million people – five times the normal population – are crammed next to the Egyptian border. With 85% of Gaza’s population now displaced, the amount of aid getting into the enclave is nowhere near what is needed.

According to the United Nations (UN), the enclave requires five hundred trucks of aid per day, but the daily average has been ninety. The situation in northern Gaza is particularly acute.

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