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Families in Gaza Digging by Hand to Retrieve Thousands Buried in Rubble

The aftermath of Israel’s war against Hamas has left Gaza in ruins, with entire neighborhoods resembling graveyards. 

The pervasive smell of destruction hangs in the air as hundreds of people tirelessly sift through rubble in search of their loved ones. 

Desperate Search for Loved Ones

The conflict has taken a heavy toll, and the scale of devastation has overwhelmed local authorities, hindering their ability to conduct proper search and rescue operations.

More than five weeks into the conflict, certain streets in Gaza have transformed into makeshift graveyards. 

The Israeli missile strikes, primarily targeting Hamas strongholds within crowded neighborhoods, have unfortunately claimed the lives of many everyday Palestinians who have yet to be accounted for.

Omar al-Darawi, among many others, has spent weeks searching the remains of two four-story houses in central Gaza. Out of the 45 people who lived there, 32 lost their lives, and the search for the remaining five, including al-Darawi’s cousins, continues. 

The situation has become increasingly dire, with the overpowering stench and the pressing need to find and bury their loved ones before they are lost forever in the rubble.

The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza reports that the conflict has claimed the lives of over 11,200 people, with two-thirds of the casualties being women and children. 

The UN estimates that approximately 2,700 people, including 1,500 children, are missing and presumed buried in the ruins, adding another layer of anguish for Gaza’s overwhelmingly Muslim families.

The Palestinian Civil Defense department, Gaza’s primary search-and-rescue force, faces significant challenges. With over two dozen workers killed and more than 100 injured, and half of their vehicles lacking fuel or damaged, their capacity to conduct search operations is severely hampered. 

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Recovery in Central Gaza Fall to Families and Volunteers

The aftermath of Israel’s war against Hamas has left Gaza in ruins, with entire neighborhoods resembling graveyards.

In central Gaza, the civil defense director laments the absence of working heavy equipment, leaving families and volunteers to lead the search efforts.

In the absence of adequate resources, the search for bodies often falls on the shoulders of relatives and volunteers. 

Families dig through the wreckage without proper tools, facing the heartbreaking prospect of bodies decomposing before they can be recovered. 

Volunteers like Bilal Abu Sama, a former journalist, highlight the desperate situation as families struggle to locate their loved ones.

Gaza has become a place where many families are denied even the comfort of a funeral. As the conflict continues, families endure indescribable hardships, and the ongoing search for missing loved ones adds another layer of tragedy to an already devastating situation.

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