Nowhere safe to go in Gaza, says Oxfam as staff member’s refuge gets hit

Published: 13th January 2009

An Oxfam worker and her family escaped a certain death after an Israeli rocket hit a house they were sheltering in during the early hours of this morning.Following a night of heavy shelling in Gaza City, our staff member and her family saw their refuge destroyed at 7:15 this morning, when a rocket launched by the Israeli army landed on the house they had sought shelter in. A few minutes later, five more rockets hit the neighboring building. Neighbors went to the rescue of the Oxfam staff member and her relatives. Paramedics provided immediate assistance.Our staff member had initially left her house two days ago, following repeated phone calls and leaflets from the Israeli army warning of an imminent attack in the area. She relocated her family in a relative’s house, deemed ‘safe’, only to find that there is really nowhere safe to hide in the Gaza Strip.“We are so confused right now," says our colleague. “We are still hearing attacks but we don’t know if the targets are close or far from where we are. We cannot yet make a decision on where to go next with our two children, my family and I cannot think straight.”“The prolonged war across the Gaza Strip is decimating the homes and lives of tens of thousands civilians – men, women and children,” says John Prideaux-Brune, Oxfam Great Britain Country Director. “Oxfam demands an immediate end to the violence. We cannot afford one more night of these appalling incidents.”Oxfam International is urging all parties to immediately reach a durable ceasefire. The protection of civilians on both sides must be an absolute priority for all actors. The level of civilian casualties recorded in Gaza is completely excessive and mounting by the hour. Indiscriminate rocket fire by Palestinian armed groups at Israel is inadmissible.

Oxfam demands an immediate end to the violence. We cannot afford one more night of these appalling incidents.
John Prideaux-Brune
Oxfam's Country Director in Jerusalem