Ismail is a 28-year-old coffee shop cashier in Gaza. He spoke to Al Mezan about his economic conditions amid the lockdown:
“I’m married and a father of one boy, I live with my parents and my sister in a house located in al-Falouja area in Jabaliya refugee camp in the North Gaza district. I work as cashier in a coffee shop in al-Sheikh Ejlein area, northwest of Gaza City.
Since the Ministry of Interior imposed a full lockdown on the Gaza Strip to limit the spread of Covid-19, I have been experiencing difficulties securing my family’s basic needs, including food and medicines, as I’m the only breadwinner in the family. My wife underwent a surgery a month ago to remove an ovarian cyst and she was prescribed monthly injections for a period of six months, each costing 600 ILS. It’s hard for me to pay for this treatment even in normal days. I’m worried that if I cannot secure my wife’s medication, the surgery may fail and my wife won’t be able to conceive ever again. In addition, my father had angina and in need of constant treatment, and my mother is diabetic and receives her medicines from the UNRWA clinic. The situation is unbearable, I have to provide my family with all their needs but I don’t have any money. I borrowed a lot of money during the lockdown, but I’m not sure I’ll able to keep providing my family with their needs in case the crisis continues. We have not received assistance from any institution since the beginning of the lockdown and were unable to obtain UNRWA’s food voucher. We are all worried about the days to come”.