May 30, 2024

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Destruction in Gaza as Israel wages war on Hamas: Live updates

1:25 PM ET, May 12, 2024

Displacement from Rafah continues, but some say they are too exhausted and sick to move

From Tareq El Helou in Gaza and Sarah El Sirgany and Abeer Salman in Jerusalem

Palestinians leave Rafah, Gaza, with their belongings on May 11.

AFP/Getty Images

More people are streaming from Rafah to other parts of Gaza following Israeli orders for civilians to leave much of eastern and central Rafah – but some remain too exhausted or too ill to move on again.

An elderly man, Hassan Abu Al-Enein, told CNN that he did not want to leave his home in the Shaboura refugee camp. But now I want to because there is no one left in the camp. He said: “I want to see my wife and daughter. I will go on foot. I have no money to buy a car. I sent my wife and daughter on foot as well.”

Maher Suleiman, who also lives in Al-Shaboura refugee camp, said he did not know where to go: “No one supports us. It is just devastation. I left the house with a shirt on.” Suleiman said there is no safe area. “My 15-year-old daughter had burns on her body. There was a strike on the building next door while she was preparing food.”

Ayman Abu Najira, who was driving a car with a broken windshield, said he was heading to Al-Mawasi, an area northwest of Rafah where the Israelis had ordered people to go. He said he hoped it was a safe area, but he had his doubts. “They’ll probably hit around it,” Nijeira told CNN.

But some were planning to stay. “We are not afraid. We are exhausted but we are resilient,” said an unidentified woman. Her tent stands alone in an area she says was full of tents just a few days ago.

She said she was from Khan Yunis. “I hope I can go back to my house, and I hope it stays standing. I’m crying because I want to go home.”

The woman said she was nervous last night. “Even the water distribution man is afraid to pass. People are afraid to leave the tents at night to relieve themselves because they are afraid of quadcopters (Israeli drones)… We all have hepatitis. There are a lot of infections among people.”

The woman pointed to a scar under her ear and said it was caused by a sniper’s bullet, which broke her jaw when she was trying to retrieve her belongings from a place near Nasser Hospital. “There was a window covered with a blanket and the sniper brought me here.”

“Why were they targeting me? I was in a school. It was empty.”

Her son, Raed Abu Salem, 18, suffered a facial injury that he said was caused by shrapnel from a drone attack in Khan Yunis when he was trying to get water. He also lost several teeth.

“I would like to say how beautiful I was,” he said in response to a question about how he feels when he looks at his pre-war photos. Now his injuries are painful and he has to eat through a syringe.

His mother said she was struggling to feed the children. “These children did not eat. We do not have fresh water.”

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