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Portrait of a homeless family

This is the story of Talal Abu Lebda and his family, consisting of 7 persons.
3 of the children go to school. Their situation is a typical example for many of the homeless families in Rafah these days...

Tala lost his parents when he was 10 years old... After he married, he became very ill and could not work any more, so the family lost their only income. His brother gave some support to the family, but then was killed on his way to work, at the age of 26. His sister was killed when an Israeli tank shell exploded in her house.

After they became homeless, they lived in a tent for a short while, until it was blown away when there was storm and rain. Now Tala built something like a "cave" at the corner of a street, but it does not protect him and his family against the cold weather.

When I asked Tala why his house was demolished, he answered:
1 month ago, while we were eating, we heared explosions... I went outside and found one of our relatives badly injured... I brought him to hospital because there were no ambulances. After 2 or 3 hours I returned from the hospital, and found our house destroyed, and my wife crying and searching for our children... I asked her what happened, and she answered: the Israeli demolished our house.. I was completely shocked, because we lost eveything: all furniture, all belongings and clothes... We have nothing any more... Now I collected some rubble from the place of destruction, to make this "cave" where we now have to stay, but it does not protect us against that bad weather, which is a huge problem for all of us.

Rezka, the 11 years old school girl, said to me: Our situation is very difficult... it is cold and wet and windy, we don't know where to go. At school they collect some money for me, to get a jacket for me, but I'm so shy because of this and I feel like a beggar every day. Our father is sick, and we are all girls in the family, so I don't know who could help us and how we ever could find a home again.

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