Interview with a family who sought refuge in Beit Lahiya school
Salwa Issa Suboh "um sharaf", 45 years old, from Alatatra area
An UNRWA worker looks in to a burning classroom in Beit Lahia school 17 January
"On 4 January we left our home, to seek a safe refuge. We went to stay at my uncle’s house. That first night, the house took a direct hit. We were 50 people in the house, including children and elderly people. The rooms were on fire, we were terrified. We ran out into the street and came to Beit Lahiya school seeking refuge.
It was the early hours of the day, when we heard a big explosion, we were on the same floor and everybody was screaming. We tried to go down to the first floor, the people were terrified, and every body was trying to leave the school.
Then another hit occurred, there was fire in the classrooms, the people could not breath because of the smoke. We managed to get out into the street, even there the shelling continued.
We saw people burned, and people killed, the children were crying and screaming. We all felt so scared the shelling spread panic and people were running everywhere. We lost our children in the chaos. We were not the only ones, everyone was manically looking for his children."
Eman Subuh, 15 years
"I can not describe the moments of fear that we have experienced, even the schools are not safe any more, we were expecting to die at any moment. We lived in total fear.
I wish I could be back at my house, and have peace and live like normal people. I don’t wish for anyone to experience what we experienced. It feels as if I am living a nightmare. The people from my area are destroyed., before the war the area around my house was very nice with green spaces, but now the land is up side down, everything is destroyed, the houses, the lands, the people."
Ikhlas Shawqi Subuh, 9 years, the fourth grade
"When I saw the dead people at the class I was so terrified and scared, our house was destroyed, I have been wearing the same cloth since 25 days, I was shaking, I can not say a word, I ran a way, I was crying, I saw people running, the bombing was every where, I can not move, there was no escape, I stayed at the street, and I have fainted at the street, I can not sleep, I stay close to my mother I can not close my eyes.
When we went to bring some cloth from our house, we saw bodies at the street, some burned bodies, or even pieces of bodies, all the night I saw the same images.
I can not forget anything, how come I can forget, and the Israelis might enter again.
The Israelis destroyed our happiness, my brother was married month ago, and now he lost his wedding room, they ruined his happiness, where to go, to live in tents, we will also feel so scared, to rent a house, we will be scared too, we lost every thing, even a 4 years old realize what is fear too, but we will continue and survive."