Older people face desolation in overcrowded shelters in Northern Gaza as war deepens


The ongoing war in Gaza has unleashed a devastating wave of displacement, leaving many older people stranded in overcrowded temporary shelters in northern Gaza. As the crisis deepens, older people find themselves facing an increasingly dire situation.

Many have been forced to leave their homes, seeking refuge in makeshift centers, where they face deteriorating conditions, depleted essential services, and a severe shortage of vital medications.

Juzoor for Health and Social Development, a HelpAge partner based in Palestine is working on the frontlines in Gaza providing support in temporary shelters, seeking to address the needs of older people.

There are nearly 3,000 older people in the makeshift centres many of whom are suffering from hypertension and diabetes and are in urgent need of medication. This is due to the closure of the existing governmental and UNRWA health centres in northern Gaza during the first week of the conflict.

Shaaban Mortaja, a Gaza-based Project Manager for Juzoor, highlighting the challenges that they are facing.

The makeshift centres urgently require medications such as pain relief, fever reducers for children, wound dressing replacements for those with injuries, and treatments for diabetic conditions.

Shaaban Mortaja

“Water pollution and the environment inside these centres is leading to an increase in the incidence of communicable diseases. Waste accumulation poses further health threats at temporary shelters. As there has been no rubbish collection for the past 20 days, concerns are rising over the potential health consequences of mounting piles of waste.”

The lack of drinking water in the makeshift centres has also forced IDPs to seek drinking water from the areas surrounding the centres. There is also no electricity, echoing the situation throughout the whole of Gaza. People sleep without lighting.

Shaaban Mortaja

“IDPs are in need of mattresses and bed covers as many of them had to flee their homes without being able to bring these items along.”

As the war that ravages Gaza creates an unprecedented scale of humanitarian crisis, the often-unspoken challenges faced by older people represent a deeply concerning dimension. They are often at risk, desperately in need of immediate support and care from the international community.

HelpAge International is calling for urgent unhindered access to bring relief to those in need, and an immediate cessation of hostilities to put an end to human suffering.


Juzoor for Health and Social Development is a Palestinian NGO with offices in Gaza and the West Bank, dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Palestinian families and promoting health as a basic human right. Juzoor is a member of the HelpAge global network, delivering support and projects focused on Palestine’s older people.