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Stories from the field: Gaza


My name is Eman Alagha, I am 33 years old and a mother-of-three (pictured below). I have a daughter Malak, aged 11, and two sons, Hesham, 9, and Omar,1, respectively. I am also a humanitarian worker and head of  Action Against Hunger’s food security project in Gaza, where I live. The recent war was the third I have lived through during the last six years. I number the wars without labelling them first or last because I believe that this will never be the last one. May be it’s the hardest, but it’s not the last. I was watching the media carefully one week before the official announcement of the recent operation, trying to convince myself that politicians would find a political solution to protect Gaza from facing [the situation] again.”

Balancing life and work during war

During the conflict, I tried to balance three roles while surviving the hard nights. The first, with my husband, was to ensure my children had food, water and safe shelter. Every day I discovered I was wrong, that the place I had chosen was not the safest. I did this in coordination with my husband. My second role was to manage part of Action Against Hunger’s emergency intervention in Gaza,  delivering aid to the most vulnerable, those who had been directly affected by the conflict. It was hard sometimes to sustain the strength needed to do this, but I did so knowing that even if I was facing this situation, I was still in a much better position than others. The third and the hardest part was to provide emotional support to my children, even when it was so difficult to do so. I was responsible all the time for minimizing their fears, even when they had stopped believing me. Children are so smart: they know if you are telling the truth or just easing their fear. But they aren’t smart enough to face the daily nightmares they faced. They aren’t smart to understand why they are facing this. And they weren’t strong enough to hear people screaming and running down the street every day after their houses were destroyed by massive bombing.


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