returning from Rafah, a humanitarian describes a chaotic situation for civilians

The Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip still lives in extremely difficult conditions, under bombardment by the Israeli army. Negotiations for a truce are stalling between Hamas and Israel.



Reading time: 2 min

Tents have been set up throughout Rafah to shelter refugees from the northern Gaza Strip.  (ABED RAHIM KHATIB / ANADOLU)

During his long humanitarian career, Jean-Pierre Delomier has experienced dramatic situations. But the one that the deputy director for international operations of the NGO Handicap International discovered in Rafah pushes all limits. Talks on a truce are stalling between Hamas and Israel: international mediators continued their negotiations on Wednesday March 6 to extract a truce agreement from Israel and Hamas in Gaza, where death and hunger are now the daily lot of the population civilian after five months of war.

The Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip is indeed experiencing a humanitarian ordeal, faced with incessant bombings and plunged into total destitution. 2.2 of the 2.4 million inhabitants are threatened with famine and 1.7 million have been forced to flee their homes according to the UN. Figures which now take on faces, thanks to the voice of Jean-Pierre Delomier. “People are trapped in a place from which they cannot escape. They have moved… only to arrive at a cul-de-sac”he describes to franceinfo after his return from a mission in the Palestinian enclave.

“The first thing that is striking is the pedestrians, the people walking in the street, because the sidewalks are littered with tents, all the spaces are occupied by tents and shelters. There is no more traffic automobile since there is a shortage of fuel”he says, evoking a feeling of dread which seized him when entering the enclave.

Explosive remains “litter the ground”

According to the UN, nearly 1.5 million Palestinians, most of them displaced, are massed in Rafah, where Israel has announced that it is preparing a ground offensive to, it says, achieve “total victory” on Hamas after the massacres perpetrated during the Hamas attacks on October 7, 2023, which left nearly 1,200 dead. In this city not far from Egypt, basic infrastructure, particularly health, is destroyed or out of service. services.

When they have a little money left, residents buy some food from street vendors, others search through the rubble in search of food.

“Every search for food or water is a quest that leads them to take immeasurable risks”

Jean-Pierre Delomier

at franceinfo

“There were such intensive bombings that today it is estimated that 3 000 explosive remnants of war which are not exploded and which litter the ground on the way back, for those who consider returning to the North”, continues the humanitarian. The situation is all the more tragic as kilometers of trucks loaded with humanitarian aid are still blocked on the Egyptian side.

source site-29