‘No safe area’: CNN journalist details his family’s desperate flight south from Gaza City
My family and I were living in Gaza City when the violence began between Israel and Hamas in May 2021. We were among thousands of people who chose to flee southwards, leaving what had become an uncertain and dangerous situation.
The day we decided to leave, it felt like it could be the last time I saw Gaza. We packed all of our belongings into light luggage, only taking what was absolutely necessary, and raced out of our home with only minutes to spare.
The journey was harrowing. We had to pass through a number of newly-established military checkpoints, and we soon realized that there was no safe area, as every second brought with it more uncertainty and fear of what might happen next. We traveled through several towns to get out of the city, dodging tanks and bullets, and trying to balance the fear of death against the hope of freedom.
Surprisingly, we encountered more people going in the same direction as us than coming the other way. We crossed paths with thousands of people who had made a similar decision, leaving behind their homes, jobs, and communities.
After hours of walking, we eventually reached a place where we could finally breathe. But the uncertainty of our next destination and the sorrow of what we had left behind still lingered. While the journey was difficult and emotional, it was the only option we had for survival.