[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/08/osama.damo.gaza.save.jpg caption="Osama Damo, deputy Gaza program manager for Save the Children"]
Editor’s Note: Osama Damo is deputy Gaza program manager for Save the Children. He and his wife have been displaced twice since the conflict began; their apartment has suffered damage in the fighting. Currently they are living in a three-bedroom apartment in Gaza City with their two children and 13 other members of their extended family, including four children ages 7, 3, 18-months and 10-months-old.
Save the Children, Gaza
Tuesday we had artillery tank fire in the area. It was one of our worst days. You can’t describe the noise, the fear inside of you. And the children are screaming.
You don’t know what to do. Do you stay? Do you try to leave and find somewhere safe? Is there any safe place? Can you protect everyone? Anyone? Everyone has a different idea about what to do — some grabbing belongings and preparing to run, others yelling that we have to remain.
Your mind stops working. But in the end, we are paralyzed.
The whole situation in the house is deteriorating. We cannot sleep at night — bombs shake the building. The children are upset all day long, and their mothers are doing what they can to comfort them. When there is an explosion, they say, "Don’t worry. It’s just a birthday bomb. People are celebrating."
We have run out of drinking water but are fairly certain that we can get more from aid organizations that deliver water to local shelters whenever possible.
Under normal circumstances, water trucks move through the streets and sell water to local residents. Nearly 80 percent of all tap water isn't safe - according to World Health Organization (WHO) standards. And right now, one-third of the Gaza population has no access to water and is reliant on humanitarian aid deliveries.
We are in a very lucky home. In other places, the story is darker, much darker. Others are sitting in the dark, frightened, with nothing to eat or drink, and in harm’s way with no one to help. At least we still have food. Our family is safe. When one of the children became ill, we were able to find a doctor and get medicine. And my wife and I both work for international organizations that are doing what they can to take care of us.
We are the lucky ones.
Filed under: Crisis in Gaza
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