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A voice note from Gaza

An MSF staff member currently in Gaza describes what he’s witnessing while sheltering from the bombing.

Wreckage from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza in 2023.

Palestine 2023 © Mohammed Baba

Late Thursday night, the Israeli military warned more than 1 million people living in northern Gaza to evacuate within 24 hours and move to the southern part of the territory. Among those who evacuated are some of the 300 people working for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), including Louis Baudoin-Laarman, MSF’s communications manager in Gaza. He sent a voice note describing what he’s witnessing while sheltering from Israel’s bombing. 

My name is Louis Baudoin. I am the communications manager for MSF in Gaza and I am currently in the south of the Gaza Strip with several thousand Palestinians. We all came to take refuge here yesterday after an announcement from the Israeli [military] asking everyone in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate.

So in the middle of the night, we urgently went on site. We set up an emergency evacuation plan and left in a convoy of 300 cars at 8:00 a.m. 

I think at first, people didn't believe the evacuation warning. That's why in the morning there weren't many people here. 

Soon, cars started pouring [in] all day long until there was no more room. At that point, people continued to come on foot, parking outside the base with mattresses, a little food, some clothes, but not much luggage because everyone really left in an emergency. 

At last count, [Friday] night, I was told there were about 10,000 people here.

The base is a sort of large complex which serves as a school, among other things, with perhaps 10 buildings of various sizes. And so people are looking for a small place to shelter where they can. People are sleeping on the stairs, in the hallways, the classrooms, the cafeterias. There are people really everywhere, putting their mattresses or just a blanket on the ground. 

People come from almost everywhere, especially from the areas which have been evacuated—from Gaza City, from Beit Hanoun, from Khan Yunis. People think that they are safer here.  

People came here to seek safety, but they are still afraid. They wonder what will happen. People often come to us asking if we have information, but we don't have any either. We don't know if [the] bombing will continue close by or far from here. We heard a few bombs falling yesterday, but for sure less than in Gaza City. 

How MSF is responding to the war in Gaza

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