April, 2024

Children of Gaza spread joy for Ramadan, despite the war

While ceasefire talks failed to end the five-month-long conflict that has killed nearly 32,000 Palestinians – most of them women and children – the goal of some youngsters living in the makeshift camp was simple.

The children of Deir Al-Balah decided to lift their spirits in the face of ongoing war and celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, despite all the difficulties.

“Every year we welcome Ramadan in our homes, but this year is different,” Shahad told UN News’s correspondent in Gaza, Ziad Talib. “Ramadan has come upon us while we are in the middle of war.”

One of the children in the camp, Shahad said she was having fun carrying lanterns for Ramadan.

“We agreed to change the atmosphere of war and decorate the camp,” she explained, with a smile on her face and enthusiasm filling her voice.

Amira was displaced from northern Gaza to Deir Al-Balah.
UN News/Ziad Taleb Amira was displaced from northern Gaza to Deir Al-Balah

Amira, displaced from northern Gaza “from built houses to tents on the dirt”, cherished the happiness as the youngsters sang in a small square between the tents.

“The children’s joy is our joy,” she said.

Despite the grief, loss and distance from family and loved ones, Amira said they decided on their own to celebrate the holy month.

Worsening hunger

The displaced people and residents in Deir Al-Balah alike are suffering from challenging and difficult conditions, with hostilities displacing more than 1.7 million people amid an ever-worsening hunger crisis, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

As lifesaving deliveries into the besieged enclave are alarmingly insufficient to meet rapidly escalating needs of almost the entire population who depend on food aid, famine warnings came on Monday, with a new report revealing that half the population in Gaza – 1.1 million people – have completely exhausted their food supplies and are suffering from catastrophic hunger and starvation.

“Ramadan is upon us, and we are in the worst situation,” warned Ahmed Abd Rabbo Musleh, who was displaced from Beit Hanoun in the north.

People are trying hard to find something to support their families, especially during Ramadan, with a simple meal costing about 40 shekels (about $11), he said, adding that “we cannot live at these prices.”

Despite the circumstances, Ahmed said he was able to provide food and drink for his family, but “there are those who cannot afford even bread.”

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