Like tens of thousands of people in Gaza, Aymen al-Djaroucha had to flee his home with his family last month during the 11 days of fighting between the Israeli military and Palestinian armed groups, mainly Hamas, which controls the blockaded enclave.
Birds sing outside the window of his office as the father of three explains what it feels like to leave the place where you’ve spent the last 12 years – without any of your belongings.
“You have all your memories there, it’s where our children grew up, where we spent time with each other and shared happy moments and difficult moments. All my life was there.”
But, he had to leave. The Israeli military phoned the apartment block’s caretaker on May 14 to warn families to evacuate. They bombed it less than an hour later, destroying several flats and causing a fire that ripped through the building.
He has since been back to assess the scale of the damage and to “try to return to my normal life”, he says.
“The flats above the eighth floor were badly destroyed by the fire and it was very hard for the civil defence to extinguish it. We have a lot of repairs to do inside and on the stairwell and a lot of cleaning.”