Rafah, Gaze Strip – Operating out of choices and options, mother and father in Gaza have resorted to placing their kids within the white medical coveralls that have been a part of COVID-19 PPE kits, in a determined bid to maintain them heat and dry.

Gaza’s displaced – lots of them having been pressured to maneuver a number of instances – are struggling within the extreme winter chilly with little to guard them from the weather aside from skinny tents at greatest.

For lots of the 1.4 million individuals crammed into Rafah after fleeing different components of Gaza, the one garments they personal are those they’re sporting. If these get moist, there’s little probability of them drying once more within the chilly.

In some areas, groups are distributing white coveralls left over from the pandemic – they’re plastic-lined and maintain no less than among the damp at bay.

‘Like an astronaut’

Nour al-Bayouk, 11, in his coveralls, explains that he, his mother and father and sisters got here right here from Maan to flee the bombing.

“We got here right here to the [European] hospital to remain in a tent. The tent could be very chilly and doesn’t defend us from the heavy rain.”

When vans arrived loaded with the white coveralls, he and his sisters rushed to get some. Now, they reside in them – day and evening.

“I’m heat and the water doesn’t get into my garments,” says Nour. “I’ve no various garments in any respect. If my garments get moist I gained’t discover the rest to put on.

“At first I regarded humorous and scary. I felt like I regarded like an individual present process an operation, or an astronaut.

“I chortle each time I see myself within the automotive home windows.”

Now, it has turn out to be a well-recognized sight, as extra kids do the identical.

“The hospital is filled with chilly tents,” says Nour. “I used to have a room with a heat mattress however we left and got here right here searching for security. Day-after-day we hear bombing. The tanks haven’t stopped for a single second.”

The tanks briefly appeared to have withdrawn from Maan at one level and Nour’s father tried to go to their home for extra garments.

“However the quadcopters shot at them and he was unable to achieve the home. That’s why we discovered these fits as a chance to avoid wasting us from the chilly and the rain.”

A baby in medical coveralls in a bid to outlive the extreme chilly in Gaza [Ruwaida Amer/Al Jazeera]

Raeda al-Khair, 35, who’s initially from Gaza Metropolis within the north, managed to search out house for her household within the European Hospital in Rafah in December. They’d fled from Khan Younis, the place that they had been sheltering till the tanks rolled in firstly of December.

She says: “We got here right here with nothing. We thought we’d return to our houses. I slept within the hospital corridors on the tiles; the intense chilly exhausted my physique and the our bodies of my kids.”

Her husband put up a makeshift tent of plastic sheeting and a few hospital blankets within the yard outdoors the hospital. However the chilly has received worse and the household is struggling.

“When it’s raining, I really feel like crying as a result of kids are getting sick from the chilly. Because the starting of the displacement, my kids have by no means recovered.”

Al-Khair noticed one of many close by households dressing their kids within the coveralls and determined to do the identical.

“She instructed me it’s lined from the within and prevents water from getting into. It’s a good suggestion for us as moms as a result of the kids shouldn’t have various garments and there’s no place to scrub or dry them.”

Life within the tents is changing into insufferable, she says. “Two mornings in the past, my five-year-old daughter, Salma, awakened moist from the rain falling on her. She was shivering a lot from the chilly. She was very sick and her temperature was excessive.

“I went out to search for this for her as effectively as a result of there are various sizes and anybody can put on it.”

Medical coveralls for warmth in Gaza
Many kids solely have one set of garments and, in the event that they get moist, can take days to dry out. Medical overalls from hospitals assist hold them dry [Ruwaida Amer/Al Jazeera]

‘I hope this nightmare will finish’

Salem Baris, 55, fled to al-Mawasi along with his kids and grandchildren, together with a complete of 10 smaller kids who’re all in white coveralls.

He got here to this a part of Rafah from Khan Younis when it turned too harmful to stay, he instructed Al Jazeera.

“Immediately, tanks entered behind Al-Khair Hospital and Al-Aqsa College [in Khan Younis]. I left with my kids and grandchildren, greater than 10 kids with me.

“I hadn’t left my home because the starting of the conflict, however I used to be pressured to go away as a result of tank shells reached our houses. Clashes have been persevering with between the military and the resistance and I feared that one in every of my sons can be injured.

“We stood on the checkpoint ready for permission till the military allowed us to enter. I used to be holding my grandson as he regarded on the tank and was very afraid. All my grandchildren have been afraid as a result of, for the primary time, they have been seeing tanks and troopers.”

Baris took his household to affix his cousin who had two tents in Rafah. “We arrived and the kids have been moist from the rain and really sick. They’d such extreme colds. I discovered my cousin had many white uniforms and I made the kids put on them. They didn’t prefer it.”

Earlier than the coveralls, Baris stated, he needed to sit within the solar with the kids for hours so their garments might dry.

The nylon coveralls have made issues higher, he says.

“We’re making an attempt to reside with the conflict situations, however they’re very tough. I hope this nightmare ends and I can go dwelling quickly.”

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