By Sandy Tolan

On sweltering summer days in Gaza, like today when it hit 95 with 60+ percent humidity, the Shati (Beach) refugee camp can feel unbearable – especially if you don’t have water or electricity.

Electricity throughout Gaza runs for four hours a day. A few can afford generators or battery operated fans. But no one drinks the salty water from the tap. Some families spend nearly half of their modest income on drinking water from roaming trucks, pumped to rooftops in dripping hoses. Others, like 19 members of the Nimnim family, can’t afford to buy water at all. 

Seventy-three-year-old Fatemah was barely three when her family was dispossessed from their village during the creation of Israel in 1948. Now she, her son Atef, daughter-in-law Abeer, and the younger generations share three airless rooms on a narrow alley of the Beach camp.

For drinking water, 15-year-old Mohammed piles plastic jugs in an old wheelchair and rolls it to the mosque, where sputtering taps give the family a means to drink and wash.

Photos by Abdel Kareem Hana

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