A farmer staying in a tent in a refugee camp in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, said on Tuesday that he was worried about the animals he was forced to leave behind in Deir Al-Balah, central Gaza.
Following army instructions from Israel to move to the south, farmer Hassan Abu Shmas said they fled to the al-Masawi area in Rafah with only a few donkeys, leaving behind most of his animals.
“The Israeli army bombed us with aircrafts and artillery. As you can see, we fled with these children, women and animals. We can’t provide food for ourselves or for them. We set up a shelter for ourselves, and here we are now,” Abu Shmas told news agency Reuters.
“As for the animals that stayed behind. No one is taking care of them. They stayed behind in the sheds and yards. They cannot eat or drink because no one stayed in the area with all the artillery and rockets being fired,” he added. “No one feeds them and they do not have food.”
“We raised cows, sheep and donkeys. The road getting here was tough. Very, very difficult. We could not carry them or travel on them, and the bombardment was everywhere,” Abu Shmas said.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians arrived in the Rafah area on Gaza’s border with Egypt to escape Israeli bombardments, the United Nations said on Wednesday, despite their fears that they will also not be safe there.
Animal food in Gaza
“The animals in Gaza, including cats, dogs, donkeys, horses, and birds, are facing a dire situation due to the restrictions on the entry of animal food into the Gaza Strip,” animal rights organization Sulala Animal Rescue, based in Gaza, said in a letter aimed at political leaders from Western countries.
“Animal food is running out, and the scarcity of supplies is causing immense suffering, especially among working horses and donkeys who – because no fuel is allowed in – now serve as the sole means of transport. Without their owners having the means to properly feed them,” the organization said.
Sulala Animal Rescue added that Israel has “not yet approved the entry of crucial supplies for these innocent beings.” It’s appealing to its followers to help with getting animal food into Gaza.
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