Gazans fleeing to Egypt live in limbo

Gazans fleeing to Egypt live in limbo
Photo Courtesy: UNRWA

Gazans fleeing the war have only one option - cross into Egypt. By April, up to 100,000 had crossed the border according to a report by AFP quoting the Palestinian ambassador in Cairo. The Egyptian health ministry said 44,000 were medical evacuees. The rest either had dual citizenship or paid exorbitant fees to a “travel agent” to get out of the war-torn strip. 

Life is Egypt is safer for Palestinians but they face a mountain of challenges that include access to employment, healthcare and education. 

Unlike arrivals from Sudan, Yemen and Syria who are supported by the UN Refugee Agency, Palestinians fall under the purview of the UN Palestinian Refugee Agency UNRAW. 

The agency, which only has one field office in Egypt, faced a funding freeze in response to Israeli allegations that some agency employees were linked to Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7th.  

As a result, work permits are exceedingly difficult for Palestinians to get. Without an income, they have had to rely on family and grassroots organizations. 

"We lost everything,” one recent arrival told AFP. "We've contacted organisations for help, but nothing has worked. Some never responded, some told us to wait our turn." 

The Palestinian embassy provides some assistance but it is overwhelmed dealing with the most desperate cases. 

"We can't even think about what comes next for us until there's a ceasefire,” a Palestinian refugee in Egypt told the AFP

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