Home PodcastJulie Alli Palestinians in Rafah Face Impossible Evacuation Costs

Palestinians in Rafah Face Impossible Evacuation Costs

by Thaabit Kamaar
Image Source: The New Humanatarian

Johannesburg – Due to the ongoing barrage of attacks, severe lack of resources, and forced displacement in the Rafah refugee camp, numerous Palestinians are actively seeking means to escape the perilous conditions with their families by crossing the Rafah border into Egypt.

Regrettably, this attempt proves nearly impossible for displaced Palestinians who have nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Egyptian authorities and various travel agencies demand excessive fees ranging from $5000 to $10 ,000 per family member for crossing.

Considering many Palestinian families consist of three or more individuals, the prospect of evacuation becomes a distant and unattainable dream, particularly for those who have experienced displacement multiple times from various locations in Gaza during the ongoing genocide.

With no support other than assistance from family and friends in the diaspora, those lacking such aid are appealing for help to raise funds. These funds would enable them to pay the steep fees imposed for crossing the border, as their only alternatives are financial ruin or facing the dire consequences of remaining in hazardous conditions.

More than half of the Palestinian population lives in South Gaza, an area rendered uninhabitable due to relentless Israeli bombardment, compounded by limited access to humanitarian aid.

Despite the evacuation playing into Israel’s illegal resettlement agenda of Gaza, Palestinians have no alternative but to make this forced choice to safeguard their families, even if it goes against their preferences.

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Helping One Palestinian Family at a Time

Given these circumstances, Dr Saffia Jacobs, a dedicated Palestinian activist, has undertaken the initiative to assist a Palestinian doctor and his family in gathering funds for their evacuation from Gaza. Once she achieves her fundraising goal for this cause, she will focus on aiding other Palestinians facing similar urgent requirements.

Dr Jacobs shared in an interview with Salaamedia, Dr Oday Abu Rukba reached out to her through one of her platforms, seeking assistance for himself and his family.

Through numerous conversations, Dr Jacobs gained insights into Dr Oday’s experiences, as well as the challenges his family has endured since the onset of the genocide in Gaza. As a result, she resolved to take action, realising the importance of offering whatever support she can in order to increase their chances of survival.

“In terms of a future for him, going forward in Gaza, there is none at present,” Dr Jacobs said.

Dr Oday, a 27-year-old doctor, has been actively volunteering at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Gaza. He and his family of 12, comprising eight adults and four children, including a newborn, now reside in a tent in Rafah, along with millions of others in the area.

Adding to the challenges, he has Nephrotic Syndrome, which is a kidney disorder. Additionally, his mother, a breast cancer survivor in remission, requires follow-up scans and treatment.

Understanding the challenging task of fundraising, with estimates nearing one million-rand, Dr Jacobs started a Back-a-Buddy account to raise funds for this purpose. Despite the amount, she maintains hope and faith that South Africans will unite for this cause, contributing whatever they can to support Dr Oday and his family.

“For Dr Oday’s family, we set the target of $40 000, almost R800 000. It is a massive amount, but I have hope and faith in us South Africans to come together and contribute.”

Despite potential obstacles and challenges, particularly involving official documents such as passports that may be lost or expired, the primary objective remains to facilitate their safe passage to a secure location.

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