This is the reality of life as a woman in Rafah right now.

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Imagine this scene as you put your child to bed. 

Instead of a nursery you lovingly decorated, you’re in a tent with 20 people. 

Instead of a clean bottle you fill from the tap, you scoop from a dirty bucket that was filled only after you waited in a queue for hours. 

The sound of emergency sirens and your growling stomach drown out the lullaby you sing to lull them to sleep. 

Families nearby are digging trenches to use as toilets. 

Others are digging through garbage in search of food. 

The fear around you is palpable. So is the smell of death. 

There are no sanitary products.

No rubbish collection. 

No electricity. 

You go to bed not knowing if you will be safe tomorrow. If your loved ones will be safe. 

You wake to the screams of other mothers mourning their families.

This is the reality of life as a woman in Gaza right now. 

Less than 48 hours after an Israeli air strike on another camp was met with global condemnation, Gaza’s emergency services are reporting a second air strike in the village of Al-Mawasi. 


The coastal area outside Rafah, crammed with tents and hundreds of displaced families, was one of the areas Israeli officials had advised the people of Rafah to seek refuge, according to the ABC. 

Palestinian journalist and filmmaker, Bisan Owda, shared footage of the decimated area on her Instagram where she said at least 18 people were killed as they got ready for lunch. 

That number is now said to be more than 21, with a further 64 injured. 

“People are shocked, people cannot talk, people found themselves gathering the remains of human bodies, of their beloved ones,” Owda said. 

“I’m afraid of looking under my feet because people are still collecting human pieces.” 


At least 12 of the dead are women, according to medical officials in Gaza. 

The Israeli army released a statement denying being responsible for the strike.

"Contrary to the reports the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) did not strike in the Humanitarian Area in Al-Mawasi," they said in a statement on Tuesday local time. 

The strike came just days after 45 displaced civilians were killed and dozens more were injured in the neighbourhood of Tel Al-Sultan. 

Survivors said families were preparing to sleep when the strike hit.

"We were praying ... and we were getting our children's beds ready to sleep. There was nothing unusual, then we heard a very loud noise, and fire erupted around us," Umm Mohamed Al-Attar, a Palestinian mother, told AAP. 

"All the children started screaming... The sound was terrifying; we felt like the metal was about to collapse on us, and shrapnel fell into the rooms."

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in parliament that "something unfortunately went tragically wrong" with this airstrike and that the neighbourhood was not the intended target. 


Falasteen: 'The future of my children that I worked tirelessly for is lost.'

As the war enters its eight month and conditions worsen, wedding photographer and mother-of-seven, Falasteen Abdulati, said she mourns the life her family used to have. 

"I'm a wedding photographer. Someone like me should be going out and living well and spending money on their children," the 35-year-old told Reuters. 

"Our life has (been reduced) to the simplest needs. It is work and exhaustion. Nothing else. The dream that I had… to open a studio and to get cameras and to make people happy, is lost. My dream is lost.

With her husband in hospital suffering from injuries, Abdulati said she and her children stand in long queues each morning just to fill their four buckets. 

Image: Getty


“There are no men to carry it for us. There is no one but us. Women are the ones working these days,” she said. 

"The future of my children that I worked tirelessly for is lost. There are no schools, no education. There is no more comfort in life. No safety."

Ameera: 'I have nightmares about delivering my baby while the hospital is under attack.'

Among the thousands of displaced people are those in desperate need of medical attention - including pregnant women. 

"I was displaced to my family home, then to my husband’s family house, and finally to a tent in the Al-Mawasi area along with five family members. My child, mother, sister, and I stay on two mattresses on the ground. It is uncomfortable for me, being pregnant," Palestinian woman, Ameera, told Oxfam in March. 

"The food is unhealthy. There is no medical care. I cannot follow up my pregnancy with a specific doctor or gynaecologist … I have never been able to undergo regular medical checks due to the absence of available medical services. The only time I went to a doctor, he told me about the small baby size. They should be bigger.


"I constantly have nightmares about delivering a baby while the hospital is under attack." 

And now, the World Heath Organisation (WHO) has warned that the last remaining hospital in Rafah is at risk if strikes continue in the area. 

“If the incursion would continue, we would lose the last hospital in Rafah,” said Richard Peeperkorn, the WHO representative for Gaza and the occupied West Bank. 

He went on to say doctors would be forced to treat the wounded in ill-equipped field hospitals which “will not prevent what we expect: substantial additional mortality and morbidity”.

Tahrir: 'I don’t care if I don’t eat, I worry about my children.' 

Among dire food shortages to the region, women have been forced to make impossible choices to keep their family alive. 

Tahrir Baraka, 36, is a mother of five who, like many parents in the region, goes days without food to at least give her children one small meal a day. 

"I’m worried so much about my children. I don’t care if I eat, I worry about them, they’ve done nothing wrong to be starved like this," she told Al Jazeera. 

Her two-year-old daughter, Wafaa, often cries from hunger as she attempts to gather enough food for their family after they were displaced and forced to move to a camp in Tal as-Sultan. 

"It was a struggle to find enough flour to make some bread for the kids," Baraka said. 


"Then we had displaced family members from Bani Suhaila come to stay with us as well and things got worse.

“I would give my share of bread to my kids to quiet their hunger. We couldn’t buy any other food as everything got so expensive, and my electrician husband has had no work since the beginning of the war."

'Horrific and unacceptable consequences.'

Following the air strike, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong, has demanded that Israel halts its operations in Rafah immediately. 

"Events of the last 24 hours underscore that we must see a humanitarian ceasefire now so that civilians can be protected. 

"Israel’s strikes have had horrific and unacceptable consequences. 

"Australia has been very clear that Israel must not proceed with its operations in Rafah – where more than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are sheltering. 

"Hamas must release all hostages, stop using Palestinian civilians as human shields and lay down its arms."


More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's offensive, Gaza's health ministry says. 

Israel launched the operation after Hamas-led militants attacked southern Israeli communities on October 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. More than 130 hostages remain in Gaza, and around a quarter are believed to be dead.

Israel says it wants to root out Hamas fighters holed up in Rafah and rescue hostages it says are being held in the area.

But it faces global condemnation for failing to spare civilian lives.

-- with AAP. 

Feature Image: Getty.