An Adelaide father who fled Gaza with his wife and two children says he fears for other members of his family who remain stuck there.
- Adelaide family was vacationing with relatives in Gaza when conflict broke out
- They were among a group of Australians and other foreign nationals who left through the Rafah border post earlier this week.
- Arrangements are currently being made to bring the family back to Adelaide from Cairo.
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was on vacation with his wife and children visiting relatives in Gaza when the war between Israel and Gaza broke out.
He told ABC it was a “struggle for survival”, with air attacks destroying the family home and bombs exploding all around them.
The man, his wife and their two children aged 10 and 7 were among a group of Australians and other foreign nationals who were able to flee Gaza when the Rafah border crossing was first opened to civilians. times.
Speaking to the ABC via a series of text messages, the man expressed immense relief and gratitude for the “incredible efforts” made to get them to safety, but said he was worried about the other members of his family. family he had to leave behind.
“I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I’m relieved that my little family is now safe,” he said.
“And, while I look forward to getting back to our normal lives in Adelaide, I am absolutely concerned for my friends and extended family, including my parents, my siblings and my siblings’ families.
“My heart is torn to see my hometown reduced to ruins.”
The man said he and his family were exhausted, but relieved to be safe.
He thanked Foreign Minister Penny Wong and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for “their incredible efforts to keep us safe”.
“We also feel indebted to all those who stood up for me and my family, including my friends, neighbors, colleagues, ex-colleagues and truly all Australians who felt our pain and wanted to see us back in Australia.” , did he declare.
The man described the moment they crossed the border to the Egyptian side.
“As soon as we arrived on the Egyptian side of the border, we were greeted by DFAT personnel,” he said.
“Australia was the first country to step up to welcome its citizens safely.
“Staff were extremely helpful, compassionate and keen to support Australians.
“Today I felt incredibly proud to be Australian!”
Boy writes about his fears while stuck in Gaza
The man shared a letter written by his 10-year-old son while they were trapped in Gaza.
“I don’t feel safe at all and I just want to go back to Australia where there is peace,” the boy wrote.
The boy described the pleasure of seeing his extended family at the start of their vacation, saying he had fun at the beach and at a sleepover with his cousins at his grandfather’s house when they are snuck out of bed for a midnight feast.
He also spoke fondly of his grandmother’s cooking.
“Obviously my grandmother makes better food than any restaurant!” he wrote.
“She made us pizza, spaghetti and many traditional Palestinian dishes including: fatta makluba and many more.”
The boy then described the moment when “everything changed.”
“After all these fun events, I’m in bed, it’s around 6 o’clock, a strange Saturday morning,” he wrote.
“I heard the sound of a bombing! Everything changed… Dad said something very bad had just happened and he was worried about us.
“We were both very surprised and scared.
“As the day went on, we heard the bombardments getting louder and louder.
“Not only that, but it was also very close. My grandfather’s neighbor’s house exploded and we could have died.”
The boy spoke of his sadness over the family pets who died in the explosions.
“It was very sad, Choco and Miko were my best friends, it broke my heart,” he wrote.
The boy described sheltering in a hospital and sleeping on the floor, then waiting near borders that remained closed.
“The next day we went to the borders, spent the day in the scorching sun but the borders remained closed,” he wrote.
“So we went to my uncle’s friend’s house near the border and the next thing I know, a hospital was bombed, 500 people died.
“My grandfather’s house was also damaged. It’s very sad; I’m literally crying right now. So we were still trapped and there are still terrifying airstrikes. So if the hospital is not not sure, WHAT IS THE PLACE!”
The boy said he was “terrified” of what would happen next.
“Will I become an orphan? Will my parents be safe? Will we make it to Australia? So many questions come to mind.
“Why can’t we go back…I miss playing soccer with my friends and riding my bike around the neighborhood.
“I want to be in my own house, in my own room, in my own bed, where I feel safe and comfortable.”
Arrangements are currently being made for the family to return home to Adelaide from Cairo.
The Australian government continues to push for all other Australians and their family members remaining in Gaza to be able to cross the border.