Palestinian Gaza

Hamza Ferwana, 12 years old, from the Palestinian Gaza Strip, spends hours every day searching through trash piles at a municipal rubbish dump to earn a living from items he may find and sell.

“I am digging out rubbish in search of food or items that can be sold such as iron, aluminum, or plastic,” the little boy told Xinhua while working at a landfill site in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis.


Ferwana lives in the Khan Younis city’s Nahr al-Bared neighborhood, one of the poorest and most marginalized areas in the Israeli-blockaded seaside territory.

The neighborhood, which is bordered by a huge landfill from the south, and a cemetery from the east, is home to more than 100 families living at shabby houses made of tin sheets.

“We wait for garbage trucks so we can search for food between those piles, or collect metal tools to sell to feed my family,” Ferwana said, holding an empty flour bag.

The teen boy has been living, with his 10-member family, in a one-room house for 10 years after they were driven out of their home for being unable to pay the monthly rent.

Ferwana wished that he could go back to school and continue his education.

Not far from Ferwana’s house, Lina al-Barqoun, 22, was busy cooking food for her two children over wood fire.

Lina, who has been pregnant for eight months, described their living conditions as “tragic and non-human,” saying that one of her children suffers from chronic asthma, while the other child suffers from atrophy of foot muscles because of scorpion sting.

“My husband, my children and I live among harmful insects, scorpions, snakes and mice during summer,” the lady said. “We are very poor; sometimes we cannot buy medicines and food for my children.”

She expressed hope to move with her family to a better house, urging aid organizations to help them get rid of “the humiliating” life.

Outside of the worn-out tin homes, 34-year-old Mohammed Abu Nimer, a father of five, lit wood fire to his wife in order to cook for his children.

“We do not want to live here, and we are looking forward to moving to a better place and having a better life,” said the middle-aged man. “I want my kids to have a normal life, to find food whenever they are hungry.”

He appealed to all governmental and non-governmental institutions to work to end their sufferings and find solutions to the problems of the residents of the neighborhood.

Gaza has been placed under a tight Israeli blockade since the Islamic Hamas movement seized the territory by force after routing forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip reached 52 percent in 2018, up from 44 percent in 2017.

The United Nations has repeatedly warned of a humanitarian deterioration in Gaza. In 2019, it issued a report warning that the Gaza Strip will not be suitable for living if Israel continues imposing blockade on the enclave. Enditem


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