Page last updated at 21:20 GMT, Monday, 2 February 2009

Aid worker diary: Part 25

Hatem Shurrab is an aid worker in Gaza with the British-based charity Islamic Relief Worldwide.

In this instalment he tells of a fellow aid worker, who works tirelessly for others despite his own heavy heart.

GAZA: 2 February
A temporary shelter in Jabalia, 31 January
Thousands were made homeless in the latest round of Israeli bombings

There are hundreds of aid workers in Gaza. This narrow piece of land is so poor that most of the population relies on some kind of aid.

Aid workers also have their own stories about what happened in Gaza - stories that many people don't get to hear. They are Gazans too, and they also have to deal with losing loved ones and finding their homes destroyed, yet must still find the strength to help others.

My colleague Maali Turk, 33, is one such aid worker. I remember during the first days of the bombing when I met Maali at the Al-Shifa Hospital. He looked confused and worried. I asked him what the matter was. He told me he had been to the mortuary to see if he could find his brother.

Unfortunately, Maali found his brother in the evening buried under some rubble - he was dead.

Just three days later, Maali was out helping people with first aid. He was also at the hospital volunteering to help with casualties.

He told me that he imagined all the injured who were coming into the hospital as being his brother. This pushed him to exert all his efforts in helping whoever he could.

Amira's story

Maali told me about 13-year-old Amira. She had come into the hospital having lost a lot of blood.

She had lost her father and two brothers when her home was hit by a missile.

Amira was also injured - she managed to crawl into her neighbour's house and hide there. She spent two days there bleeding, in fact she was slowly bleeding to death.

Luckily for Amira, her neighbour returned to the house to check on its state and found Amira and got her to hospital. She survived despite her injuries.

Each time I go out with Maali, he tells me a new story, something he has seen or somebody he has helped. He somehow manages to put his feelings to one side and gets on with his job. And so do hundreds of other aid workers in Gaza.

There were more explosions today - we are praying that things don't escalate to the horror that we were forced to endure over the past month.

Previous diary entries by Hatem Shurrab:

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