Palestinians streamed out of a heavily bombed neighborhood on Sunday by the thousands after an all-night onslaught by the Israeli military, according to American daily online newspaper (The Christian Science Monitor).
Women carried babies, old men fled on canes, and entire families emerged from Shejaiya in east Gaza with nothing but the clothes on their backs as artillery shells and gunfire echoed in the streets. They spoke of widespread destruction and bodies lying in the streets after the most intense attacks.
The panicked exodus from Shejaiya compounds a brewing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. With more than 81,000 people pushed from their homes, including around 20,000 this weekend, the number exceeds the displacement from the 2008 Israeli aggression and could soon overwhelm the ability of international organizations to provide shelter and sustenance, the US daily said.
Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), says the agency is operating 61 shelters in its schools in Gaza. UNRWA has about 100 school buildings throughout the coastal enclave as well as additional buildings, so it can open more shelters for evacuees.
But Gunness said the agency is quickly running out of funding for food, water, blankets, and mattresses. The agency has launched an emergency appeal for $60 million to deal with the crisis, according to the daily.
UNRWA won't turn people away, Gunness added, but may not be able to provide comfortable or sanitary conditions in its shelters without additional funding. The upsurge in evacuees is "a reflection of the perilous situation that civilians are in," he said.
The number of martyrs since the beginning of the Israeli aggression rose to 474, most of them children and women. More than 3,000 were injured.