Thousands of bodies remain under the debris of destroyed buildings, as Israeli forces increase bombardment across central and southern Gaza.
Left with no proper equipment and machinery, the civil defence crew relied on bare hands to remove the rubble.
“We are talking about a three or five-storey building razed to the ground. It’s hard to reach under those layers of concrete,” a crew member told Al Jazeera.
“Thousands of martyrs are still under the rubble, and we cannot retrieve them. There are clear and significant deficiencies in our capabilities and mechanisms. We cannot reach the bodies under the debris in the northern Gaza Strip,” said Civil Defence spokesman Mahmoud Basal.
During the truce period, the Civil Defence team was able to recover more than 300 bodies. As the onslaught resumed, the situation got exacerbated.
The bombing occurs in different places at the same time and dozens of locations are targeted within minutes. Under such circumstances, the crew members who are less in number toil hard to reach out to the victims and act adequately.
More than 100 residential buildings have been destroyed in Rafah alone during the past weeks.
In desperation, people have started writing the names of their loved ones, whose bodies are not recovered, on the walls of residential buildings.
Meanwhile, in a written statement published by Gaza’s Interior Ministry, civil defence said Israeli forces have been constantly targeting their teams in the enclave.
At least 16,248 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October 7.
On 5 December, the UN Human Rights Office stated that “the pattern of attacks that target or impact on civilian infrastructure raises serious concerns about Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law and significantly raises the risk of atrocity crimes.”
On 5 December, the World Food Programme (WFP) stated that “the resumption of hostilities in Gaza will only intensify the catastrophic hunger crisis that already threatens to overwhelm the civilian population.”
The statement indicated that “the renewed fighting makes the distribution of aid almost impossible and endangers the lives of humanitarian workers.”