ICRC/Hisham Mhanna, the ICRC and Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) teams jointly assess the damages in a residential building affected by the armed hostilities in August 2022.

Gaza: Memories in the Rubble

Gaza Strip (ICRC) — Three days of armed hostilities in August 2022 devastated the lives of many residents in the Gaza Strip. According to UN OCHA, over 500 people have been displaced and about 2,000 housing units have been damaged.
Article 23 August 2022 Israel and the occupied territories

"It was a regular Friday afternoon. Suddenly, we heard massive explosions and the ground started shaking.

We had to evacuate the building quickly to seek shelter," said Khalil Kanoun. "My mother is over 70 years old. She had to climb down 12 floors of stairs to exit the building.

Our home now is not connected to power or water supply. We can't access the building as it is still dangerous, and we don't know when we'll be able to return," added Khalil.

With every round of armed hostilities in the Gaza Strip, civilians face the most severe consequences. The latest escalation stifled sparks of hope that had emerged following the previous round in May 2021. For many Gazans, it will be almost impossible to move on with their lives.

"I lived in this house for decades. All the good memories are buried in the rubble. I have two daughters with mental disability who now must face yet another challenge of losing their home and privacy. What we've lost is much more than just a house," said Nadia Shamalakh, 73-year-old woman whose house was destroyed during the armed hostilities of August 2022.



Creating a safe path for recovery in Gaza

The complex process of rebuilding lives began as news of the ceasefire on 7 August 2022 spread. A key first step to enabling the path to recovery and preventing further injuries was addressing the immediate danger of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) – unexploded bombs and other ammunition which failed to explode and still poses a lethal risk of detonation. Staff and volunteers of the ICRC and Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) began by visiting affected communities to identify risks, sensitize communities on the risks of UXO and what they can do to avoid it.


"We've witnessed multiple rounds of escalations over the past decade. With every escalation, the need for awareness-raising remains valid. We've helped thousands of children and parents be acquainted with the risks of UXO, and this makes me proud of my team," said Nour Abu Al-Ouf, a PRCS volunteer.

Rebuilding lives

Following a joint assessment of humanitarian needs by the ICRC and PRCS staff and volunteers, a joint distribution of cash grants and essential household items began for 118 displaced families.


"We can sense the upheaval in people's lives with every escalation. This time, when we spoke with the affected families, we noticed that the sense of frustration and helplessness is high," said Reham Fathi, a PRCS volunteer.

We took into consideration people's preference to receive cash assistance. In addition to the essential household items, each family received 2,250 Shekels (equivalent to 700 USD), which will help them meet their immediate and basic needs in the coming three months, said Ashraf Al-Saadoni, ICRC economic security team leader in Gaza.