GAZA has become “uninhabitable”, said United Nations humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths in a statement last week.

Ghada Al-Haddad lives in the southernmost part. The humanitarian worker described it as “very overcrowded”.

“People are filled with despair, you can see it in their eyes,” she added.

In the latest in our Diaries from Gaza series, we speak with civilians as tens of thousands of people – mostly women and children – have been killed or injured, families are sleeping in the open as temperatures plummet and areas where people were told to relocate have been bombed.

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For Al-Haddad, among the most serious issues are a lack of proper medication and the spread of diseases. She describes how her mother’s important heart medication isn’t available in any pharmacy near her.

“There is also a huge lack in essential hygiene products such as sanitary pads, diapers and formula,” she added.

“Which is very distressing and women are forced to resort to unhealthy and unhygienic practices.”

Alhasan Swairjo says that the entirety of Gaza is “in need” and that the amount of humanitarian aid currently entering simply “isn’t sufficient”. He, too, is having difficulties finding medication for a chronic illness he suffers from.

The National: TOPSHOT - Children react during the funeral of the Faojo family, killed in Israeli bombing on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on November 11, 2023, as battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement continue. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Fidaa Al-Araj, meanwhile, says that the situation is going to be “very serious” even for those who aren’t chronically ill or in need of special medical attention if circumstances don’t improve.

They are not alone. In his statement, Griffiths said that the few partially functioning hospitals are overwhelmed and critically short of supplies, infectious diseases are spreading and amid the chaos, some 180 Palestinian women are giving birth every day.

Griffiths reiterated UN demands for an immediate end to the war and the release of all hostages, declaring: “It is time for the international community to use all its influence to make this happen.”

He said the humanitarian community is facing an “impossible mission” of supporting more than two million people in Gaza while aid workers are killed, communications blackouts continue, roads are damaged, truck convoys are shot at, and vital commercial supplies “are almost non-existent".