Displaced, bombed by Israel, Rafah’s kids seek warmth in hospital coveralls

Running out of options and solutions, parents in Gaza have resorted to putting their children in the white medical coveralls that were part of COVID-19 PPE kits, in a desperate bid to keep them warm and dry.

Gaza’s displaced – many of them having been forced to move multiple times – are suffering in the severe winter cold with little to protect them from the elements other than thin tents at best.

For many of the 1.4 million people crammed into Rafah after fleeing other parts of Gaza, the only clothes they own are the ones they are wearing. If these get wet, there is little chance of them drying again in the cold.

In some areas, teams are distributing white coveralls left over from the pandemic – they are plastic-lined and hold at least some of the damp at bay.

‘Like an astronaut’

Nour al-Bayouk, 11, in his coveralls, explains that he, his parents and sisters came here from Maan to escape the bombing.

“We came here to the [European] hospital to stay in a tent. The tent is very cold and does not protect us from the heavy rain.”

When trucks arrived loaded with the white coveralls, he and his sisters rushed to get some. Now, they live in them – day and night.

“I’m warm and the water doesn’t get into my clothes,” says Nour. “I have no alternative clothes at all. If my clothes get wet I won’t find anything else to wear.

“At first I looked funny and scary. I felt like I looked like a person undergoing an operation, or an astronaut.

“I laugh every time I see myself in the car windows.”

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