'We can’t find any food': Gazans in despair one month since outbreak of war

All bakeries have shut down in enclave as civilians are trapped with no safe passage out

Palestinians bake bread over a fire due to the lack of cooking gas at a camp in Khan Younis, Gaza, where basic supplies are running out. Bloomberg
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest news on Israel-Gaza

Gaza residents are struggling to find food, as supermarket shelves lay empty in northern Gaza on Tuesday.

“We can’t find anything on the shelves of supermarkets. It is all empty,” Maryam Al Sweda, 23, told The National.

“There is no milk, rice, salt or bread,” she said, adding that all essentials were sold out in the majority of shops in the north.

All bakeries in Gaza city and the north of the enclave are now out of service, the Ministry of Interior said on Tuesday, as it accused Israel of conducting a "war of starvation" against civilians.

Targeted Israeli air strikes and a lack of fuel and flour have forced bakeries to close, the ministry said.

Civilians are unable to escape through the so-called “safe passages” set up by Israel and are stuck in the besieged enclave with nowhere to go a month on from the war's outbreak.

Abu Ahmad, 55, has five hungry children and is running out of food supplies, he said, standing next to a building flattened by an Israeli air strike that shook the neighbourhood near Al Shifa Hospital.

“We have nowhere to go, we are stuck inside Gaza city with no food or water. Death is getting closer and closer."

Little humanitarian aid has reached the northern Gaza Strip as Israeli forces encircled Gaza city where they claim that Hamas’s main command and control centre are located.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry said 10,328 Palestinians have been killed in the enclave since the start of Israel’s offensive on October 7.

Civilians holding white flags

The Israeli military has repeatedly called on Palestinians in the north to move south, however, civilians told The National it was a “deadly passage” as Israel was shelling the area while also bombing the south.

“We are civilians, we have been walking for hours but soldiers are standing on the side road with their guns,” Hatim Abu Rayesh, an ambulance driver from Gaza city, told The National as he reached the border near Rafah crossing.

"We want to live in peace, we are not terrorists.

"I say to [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, 'come and fight us, man to man, not by tanks or rockets'. I’m not afraid to die.

"We are civilians, we love peace. What do you want us to do?

"I want to die here," Mr Abu Rayesh said of his home.

Civilians said they have been running for their lives while waving white flags and raising their hands as Israeli tanks drove past.

“We saw dead bodies and have heard that Israelis were firing at people alongside the road,” said Khalil Al Hindi, 35, who left his home but returned on the same day.

Al Shifa Hospital on the front line of war

The entire hospital system across the besieged enclave is about to collapse, with very little electricity, fuel, water or medical supplies. Doctors are running out of options to save civilians' lives.

The UN agency for humanitarian affairs, OCHA, on Tuesday said 14 hospitals in the Gaza Strip were not functioning due to lack of fuel or damage to the building.

"We feel helpless," said Mohammed Ani, a doctor at Al Shifa, the largest hospital in the strip.

Dr Ani said he was struggling to keep patients alive, with very little medical supplies and equipment.

He told The National most hospitals had already reached capacity, with thousands of displaced civilians seeking a place of safety, but were now hugely overcrowded due to the rising number of injured patients being brought in.

Israeli forces targeted the solar-panel system at a building in the Al Shifa Hospital complex, injuring several civilians and killing one child, the doctor said.

"This is an urgent appeal to all sides to stop this catastrophe," he said.

Updated: November 07, 2023, 4:50 PM