The population of the enclave were growing more desperate by the hour as Israeli air strikes battered the Gaza Strip ahead of an anticipated ground offensive while water runs out, trash accumulates, explosives level homes, and hospitals are overburdened.
Some people started digging wells near the sea in an effort to obtain some drinking water, while others relied on the salty tap water from Gaza’s sole aquifer, which is tainted with sewage and seawater.
Two residents in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, volunteered to fill plastic containers with water to distribute among displaced families.
Some residents prayed for an end to the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has raised fears of a wider Middle East conflict.
They said overnight air strikes were the heaviest in nine days of conflict. Many houses were flattened. Gaza authorities said at least 2,750 people, mostly civilians and among them more than 700 children, had been killed and nearly 10,000 wounded. A further 1,000 people were missing, believed to be under rubble.
Israel has imposed a full blockade as it prepares a ground assault in Gaza. Israeli troops and tanks are massed on the border.
It has vowed to annihilate Hamas, which rules the enclave, in retaliation for a rampage by its fighters in Israeli towns nine days ago in which its militants killed 1,300 civilians including children and seized hostages in the worst attack on civilians in the country’s history. Israel’s military said at least 291 soldiers have been killed.