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'Fear and anxiety': Daily life of a student in Gaza

Palestinians work among debris of buildings that were targeted by Israeli airstrikes in Jabaliya refugee camp. (Abed Khaled/AP)
Palestinians work among debris of buildings that were targeted by Israeli airstrikes in Jabaliya refugee camp. (Abed Khaled/AP)

Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, testimonies have been coming out of Gaza from trapped Palestinians under attack.

One of those voices is from Rafah, in southern Gaza, near Egypt. Shahd Safi is a 22-year-old English literature student whoteaches and works as a freelance journalist.

Like so many, Shahd and her family fled their home to escape Israeli strikes. Now, she lives with

her grandparents and other families sheltering together.

Before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack and the continued Israeli response, Shahd attended AlAqsa University in Gaza City. She used to spend her days studying and exercising, but that isn’t the case anymore.

“All of my days are all about fear and anxiety, worries,” she says, “and also not enough studying, not enough working. It’s just that I can’t, due to the electricity shortages and also the internet bad connectivity.”

Israel has cut off the internet and power repeatedly in Gaza. And when it comes to food and water, Shahd says flour is hard to come by. Her siblings have to queue up for hours for bread and water.

“We have spent some days without any water,” she says. “We couldn’t do the laundry. We couldn’t wash the dishese. We couldn’t have a shower. Dishes and clothes accumulated, and you know how annoying that is. Water is a very basic need. If it’s not there, you will be seriously struggling. And that’s what’s happening now, unfortunately, in the Gaza Strip.”

The backdrop is constant shelling and air raids.

“It’s dangerous because every place in the Gaza Strip, it is not safe,” says Shahd. “Everything is targeted. You can see the health workers, the paramedics, the journalists, the lawyers, everyone can be targeted. The hospitals, the mosques, everything literally can be targeted, the ambulances as well.”

At any moment, she could be hit by a missile or a bomb. She’s living moment by

moment in Gaza. Shahd says she’s lost at least four friends so far. Her message to the world: Stop — and send more help.

“We need all the basic necessities, and above all, our safety,” Shahd says. “All Palestinians in the Gaza Strip need a ceasefire right now because what’s happening is insane and it needs to stop.”


Adeline Sire produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Todd Mundt. Sire also adapted it for the web.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.