The bombardments are very intense. Entire buildings are being destroyed, including one last night right next to the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) office. Sometimes people receive a text message in the middle of the night telling them to evacuate their homes, as happened to some of our team members in Gaza. You have to wake up your children in the middle of the night and leave your house, without taking any of your belongings, to get to safety. But very often people don't know where to go; they find themselves outside in the middle of the night, under a hail of bombs. Where can they find safety?
The latest estimates put the number of displaced people at around 200,000, mainly people who have received those SMS messages and whose homes have been destroyed. They need everything: water, a place to shower, food, a mattress to sleep on... in short, these are varied but basic needs.
Now the Israeli government has decided to completely cut off water and electricity supplies, and the phone network has been badly damaged. This morning, we were unable to reach our teams in Gaza by phone. Inevitably, this all makes it extremely difficult to coordinate rescue operations and access the injured.
In Gaza today, people are terrified. I speak very regularly with our colleagues there. They are very tough people because unfortunately they have lived through a lot of wars, but the current situation is causing them extreme anxiety. They say that this time it's different: they don't see a way out and they wonder how it’s all going to end. They are in terrible mental distress. There aren't words to describe what people are going through.