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From the field

Testimony: Life in Gaza under siege and bombardment

Hassan al-Masri, unemployed

I live with my wife and our two children, who are one and two years old, in an apartment in Gaza City. I used to work as a clerk in the University of Palestine, but I was fired two months ago because of the general situation in Gaza. We now have no source of income.

Since the Israeli attacks began, we've been living in constant stress and fear. Every time we here the Israeli planes, we're afraid our area is going to be bombed. Yesterday (31 December), the planes bombed a police station close to our building and some of our windows were shattered.  

My wife and I hardly sleep and we almost don't go out of the house, because it seems safer than the street.

We've run out of essentials like flour, sugar and oil. Because we have no income, there is almost nothing we can buy. We live off bread that we buy cheap at Hamas bakeries. Now these bakeries have also run out of flour, and we don't know what's going to happen.

We ran out of cooking gas two months ago, so we use electricity instead, but there are power outages all the time. In the last few days we've had electricity only six out of every twenty-four hours, at different times each day.

We're very cold, especially at night. When the power is down, we go out and collect straw and cardboard boxes with our neighbors. We light a fire out in the yard and boil tea on it.

This is the way most Gazans area living now. We hope this situation will end soon, because we won't be able to last like this much longer. The most important thing is for the Israeli bombings to stop, so that we don't live in constant fear. 

Hassan Mahmoud Muhammad al-Masri, 32, married and father of two, is unemployed and a resident of the a-Naser neighborhood, Gaza City. His testimony was given by phone to Musa Abu Hashhash on 1 January 2009.