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Eighty percent of residents in the coastal enclave live below the poverty line and real wages have declined by ten percent since 2005, according to the U.N.
Deprivation is nothing new to Gaza’s population, mostly descended from refugees, and even peacetime brings no abundance to one of the most densely populated plots in the world.
But times of extraordinary hardship like these appear to be testing the patience of a blockaded territory that the U.N. predicts will be “unliveable” by 2020, unless there is radical infrastructure and economic development.
The long-standing shortfall in medical supplies is biting just as Gazans need them most, and threatens to further exasperate families dealing with wounded members.
“There isn’t enough medicine, and in this situation, we don’t know how long it will stay like that,” said Um Ahmad Hasan, a Gaza resident whose child was wounded during the strikes, as she waited anxiously in a Gaza hospital.
Horrific scenes take on an a surreal aspect.
Doctors displayed the body of boy – locals said he was killed by an Israeli airstrike – holding his lifeless body and dangling limbs at arm’s length in front of the frantic camera shutters and video lenses of the Gaza press corps.
Then he is whisked away, the dispersing crowd careful not to slip in the bright red blood on the tile floor.
Surveying the damage to his land at daybreak on Friday following withering aerial attacks by Israel, Gaza city resident Abu Shadi showed little emotion.
“We were surprised that the explosion was so big,” he said, standing next to a deep crater. “It destroyed the grapes, the iron and all the land. We really lost a lot. But in the end, Thank God we lived.”