‘Do or die situation’: Medway family trapped on Gaza Strip

MEDWAY, Mass. — A Medway family is desperately trying to escape the Gaza Strip after their vacation to visit relatives turned into a nightmare.

Abood Okal, Wafaa Abuzayda and their one-and-a-half year old son Yousef have been trying to flee since the war broke out last Saturday.

They had been staying with family members in Jabalia in northern Gaza.

The escalating violence forced them to scramble more than 20 miles south to Rafah.

They’re now anxiously waiting to cross the Egyptian border and are running out of essential supplies.

“They’re trying to stay strong for their one year old because he doesn’t understand what’s going on,” said friend Sammy Nabulsi. “They’re trying not to cry, not to freak out in front of him.”

Nabulsi, who’s a Boston attorney, has been trying to assist in the family’s evacuation with no luck so far.

“They ran out of drinking water today. They’ve already been short on food. There aren’t fuel supplies so they can’t really fill up the car,” he said. “This is a do or die situation.”

He shared the following message from the family who’s frantically waiting for word on when they can cross the border.

“Even though we’re all exhausted and sleep-deprived, there is no room for being burnt out. We’re kicking in survival mode…Tons of people have moved south from northern Gaza Strip causing a real pressure on whatever supplies are remaining.”

“They’re no longer counting the shelling by the minute. It’s by the seconds,” said Nabulsi.

An estimated 500 to 600 Palestinian Americans are in Gaza with no way out.

The State Department says it’s working to secure a safe exit of U.S. citizens from Gaza.

A spokesperson with Senator’s Markey’s Office told Boston 25 News that they’ve been trying to help the Okal family.

“The Senator and his office will continue to do everything we can to assist Massachusetts families who have been unable to return home,” it said. “We’re encouraged by the Administration’s progress on evacuations however there needs to be heightened efforts on those in Gaza trying to return.”

Senator Markey’s spokesperson said that his office continues to stay in close touch with the State Department.


This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW