“I’m lucky that I have a generator and that I can pump water from my water tanks,” said Mahmoud Shalabi, a programme manager at Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). “This morning I went outside to buy bread for my family. All of the bakeries are closed, even the ones that are closed there are plenty of people waiting outside for them… I went to the ATM to try and get some cash but the bank had been partially destroyed due to the bombardment. So we can’t withdraw cash.”

“Last night was horrific, bombardments were everywhere, every minute and of all kinds: artillery, shells, air raids, you name it – gun powder was everywhere and we were breathing it heavily.”

Shalabi lives in Beit Lahia and is not evacuating the north despite the warnings from the IDF. “It could be the last message I send,” he said in a voice note. “I am not leaving my home. I am not going to be a refugee again… I will die standing, my existence on this land is itself a form of resistance.”

Another MAP colleague’s house had been bombed, he said, and the scene at Al Shifa hospital that was relayed to him was “horrific”. 

“It is full of internally displaced people, the nurses come and they stop the bleeding and say wait for a doctor,” he relayed. “He wasn’t able to bring someone to even give them painkillers.”

The aid worker said that because ambulances are being targeted, people are now transporting dead bodies with their own cars.

To die, he concluded, would be more merciful at this point than being injured because of the collapsing hospital system. 

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