“When the [Israeli] shelling started, I gathered up my family and headed for what I though was a safe place, like a school, but then that became overcrowded and lacked sanitation, so we ended up in the grounds of the hospital.”
"My child became blind and lost the ability to speak, his dad died and his three brothers are seriously wounded. He still has not been told about the loss of his dad,” says the mother of 7-year-old Mohamad Badran.
As a result of over two weeks of Israeli bombardment, thousands of Palestinian civilians have fled their homes in the north of Gaza and sought refuge in schools run by the UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees.
The refugee camp of Yarmouk represents one of the most severe examples of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, with foreign aid agencies unable to enter the opposition-controlled area that been effectively besieged since December 2012.
The almost three-year-old Syrian civil war has been a “silent war on human and economic development”, destroying the ability of ordinary Syrian citizens to maintain basic livelihoods, according to a report launched here Wednesday by two United Nations agencies.
It was nine in the morning when the shell landed in front of nine-year-old Hella al-Abtah's house in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus. Hella survived the initial blast but was critically wounded in the head, and her father rushed her to the Palestine Hospital, blood pouring from the laceration.
Hazem Maher, 16, from Hebron in the southern West Bank, works a backbreaking 12-hour day in the fruit and vegetable market in the city of El Bireh, next to Ramallah. He earns just over 15 dollars a day as a porter.
Israel's crippling blockade of the coastal territory of Gaza is pushing desperate young Palestinians to ever more extreme measures in the search for livelihoods, despite an agreement granting Gazans greater access to their agricultural land.
A top United Nations official is warning that the plight of Palestinian refugees is being neglected amidst the ongoing crisis in Syria.