M.M, is a 39-year-old man who lives in Al Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City. He is one of thousands of people in Gaza living under the threat of eviction due to their inability to pay rent amid the lockdown. He told Al Mezan:
“I live in Al Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City, I’m married and a father of eight. Five years ago, I used to run a shop for selling electronics and cell phones but as the Israeli blockade tightened, many of my customers who pay by instalment started defaulting. The business incurred such severe loses that I was unable to pay my rent and closed the shop. Since then, I have been under constant distress. I sold my home furniture to pay off some of the debts to avoid imprisonment after suppliers filed lawsuits against me. I was evicted from ten houses in total during the past five years, moving from one house to another, as I could not pay the rent of for lack of income. Some people think I’m a fraudster and nobody knows how hard my life is. My parents’ house could barely fit those living inside it, and my parents’ financial conditions are also poor; they can’t meet their basic needs.
I have since worked in many occupations and I could barely meet my family’s basic needs and provide the minimum levels of subsistence. Since the Ministry of Interior imposed a full lockdown due to the spread of COVID-19 on 24 August 2020, I have been staying at home without any work. To be honest, for the last three weeks we haven’t eaten anything except white cheese, and I borrowed money to buy flour for baking bread. I can’t look for work under this lockdown since our neighborhood is categorized as an endemic area. I don’t know what to do in the coming days. My children wish to eat different types of food and buy candy. I keep telling them that the grocery store is closed due to the lockdown but in fact I don’t have money to go to the store. We’re are now under threat of eviction once more as I’m unable to pay the rent. We haven’t received any assistance and nobody contacted us to offer help”.