Thousands of Palestinians have fled to southern Gaza after Israel warned them to evacuate the north before a planned ground offensive against Hamas in response to its attack on Israel.
However, those who fled to southern Khan Younis found no reprieve from Israel’s bombardment, as warplanes struck a four-storey building on Saturday, killing and wounding several people. Dozens of Palestinians could be seen rushing to rescue people trapped in the rubble.
At least 2,215 Palestinians, including 724 children, have been killed and 8,714 others wounded since the conflict’s escalation. In the past 24 hours alone, 324 Palestinians have been killed and 1,000 others have been wounded in Israeli air raids in Gaza, according to the health ministry.
“There are thousands of people and thousands more are still coming after Israel’s order to evacuate to southern Gaza’s Khan Younis and Rafah. The two governorates are packed with people beyond capacity”, Al Jazeera’s Youmna ElSayed said from Khan Younis.
She said that Khan Younis is suffering from food and water shortages.
“We are just shut out of the whole world,” she said, adding that families there have been welcoming those who are fleeing from the north into their homes.
“In every apartment, there are 20 to 30 people staying together. And there are more calling relatives and friends to ask whether there is space where they are. I’m staying in an apartment with three other families,” she said.
Some 270,000 displaced people are sheltering in 102 schools run by the UN agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA.
No aid has so far reached the 2.3 million residents of Gaza, as medical supplies and fuel to power hospitals are running out.