Mohammed is a 42-year-old butcher who supports a family ten. He spoke to Al Mezan about his struggle to provide for his family amid the COVID-19 outbreak:
“I live in al-Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City. I have eight children and I have been a butcher since 1997. My shop is located in a market in the center of Gaza City. Ever since the start of the blockade in 2007, I have been struggling to make an adequate income. With the emerge of the coronavirus cases in the Gaza Strip in August 2020 and the ensuing lockdown, I’m no longer able to meet my family’s basic needs, and I can’t pay the weekly installments I owe to suppliers, who started demanding their money even under these hard times. Moreover, the electricity crisis is making it impossible to preserve the meat, and this puts me in a great pressure. I’m confused, I don’t know what to do, there is nothing available in my home, there is no electricity, water, food or medicine. Our life is turning into hell.
My nephew suggested that he and I sell vegetables from a cart in front of our house and I accepted. We bought vegetables and started selling them. However, on 4 September 2020, the police came and forced us to stop on account that our neighborhood is designated as an endemic area. They also arrested my nephew but released him later on the same day. Now, I don’t have any money and my house lacks the basic needs. No institution has been in contact with me and I have not received aid from anybody”.