Rinad, a Palestinian mother, finds solace as her three-year-old son, Ahmed, reaches safety in the UAE. They were part of the initial group of injured Gazan children and women transported to Abu Dhabi for medical care.
Yet, as Rinad journeyed to the UAE capital with her youngest child, she faced the agonizing decision of leaving her older children and husband behind.
“We had no choice but to leave Gaza; nowhere felt safe. My husband and other children are severely injured,” she shared with Khaleej Times upon the arrival of the special flight at Abu Dhabi International Airport from Al Arish International Airport in Egypt. “I hope they can join us here soon.”
As the Israel-Hamas conflict extends into its seventh week, with thousands killed and 1.5 million people displaced, Rinad describes the devastating conditions in Gaza, stating that the region is now completely destroyed. “All hospitals, schools, and houses are bombed. Nothing is left for us over there.”
The recent bombings targeted civilian facilities such as Al Fakhoura and Tal Al Zaatar schools in the besieged Gaza strip. Rinad departed Gaza for the Rafah border, where she crossed into Egypt and boarded a rescue plane sent by the UAE.
In response to the ongoing crisis, the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, directed the evacuation of 1,000 injured Palestinian children to receive treatment at Emirati hospitals until their full recovery.
Similarly, Mayson Atiyeh, another mother, arrived in Abu Dhabi with her daughter Lujain, leaving behind her injured husband and other children in Gaza.
“The trip to Abu Dhabi was beyond words; the warmth of the reception and the joyful faces we encountered momentarily eased the pain of our children.”
Mayson expressed the unbearable conditions in Gaza, where her home was bombed, forcing her and her daughter to seek refuge in a school.
“In Gaza, there’s no water, no electricity, no food, and no safety. People live in constant fear, aware that leaving home might be their last moment with family,” she shared. “Gaza, as it was, no longer exists; it’s utterly destroyed.”
Living through an ongoing nightmare, Mayson hopes for a reunion with her husband and older children still in Gaza, aspiring to find safety together in the UAE.
The UAE, at the forefront of addressing the humanitarian crisis, initiated the Tarahum (compassion) for Gaza campaign, dispatching tons of life-saving aid to assist the people of Gaza. Beyond the evacuation of 1,000 Palestinian children, the UAE plans to airlift 1,000 Palestinian cancer patients from the Gaza strip.
Under the directives of Sheikh Mohamed, plans are underway to establish a fully-equipped field hospital in Gaza. An air bridge is facilitating the transport of the necessary equipment to set up the 150-bed hospital.