A BBC journalist broke down in tears in a Gaza hospital after meeting a girl whose home was destroyed and family killed, saying she is the same age as his daughter.
BBC Arabic reporter Adnan El-Bursh fell to his knees and removed his glasses before wiping his face as he was overcome by emotion at the Al Shifa Hospital yesterday.
Mr El-Bursh and his team – including cameraman Mahmoud al-Ajrami, who was also left in tears – had discovered that their friends, relatives and neighbours were among those injured or killed in the hospital and he described how ‘bodies lay everywhere’.
n Mr El-Bursh’s report, a young girl with a bloodied face was seen sitting upright in a hospital bed while crying and covered in dust as a doctor tended to her legs.
The journalist and producer, who lives in Gaza and has worked for the BBC since December 2010, revealed the child had lost her home and her relatives were dead.
He said: ‘This young girl’s home was destroyed. Her relatives have been killed and she needs help. My daughter is the same age. I want to give her a hug.’
Mr El-Bursh wrote in an accompanying BBC News report that the girl was ‘brought in screaming from intense pain and shock’ and had been calling out to doctors to ‘treat her and to get rid of her pain’ after her home was ‘shelled by Israeli forces’.
Hundreds of seriously injured people were filling the hallways of Gaza’s largest medical facility amid traumatic scenes, with bodies lying in corridors and outside.
Speaking to the camera, Mr El-Bursh, who is a father, said: ‘This is my local hospital, inside are my friends, my neighbours. This is my community. Today has been one of the most difficult days in my career. I have seen things that I can never unseen.’
Mr El-Bursh also said that amid what he labelled as ‘chaos’, his cameraman Mr al-Ajrami saw his friend Malik in the hospital having survived – but his family were dead.
It comes as the United Nations said today that Israel’s military had told some one million Palestinians living in Gaza to evacuate the north. In other developments:
During his report, Mr El-Burhs also spoke to a mother who was sitting next to the bodies of her dead relatives.
She told him: ‘We were sleeping and they were bombarding the house like everyone else.
‘We don’t have any resistance fighters in our building. All the building is full of residents. 120 people live there.’
Mr El-Bursh also said: ‘The corridors of Al Shifa Hospital are filled with bodies. The morgue can no longer cope.
‘The bodies of the dead have to be laid on the floor outside the hospital entrance.
‘You never want to become the story, yet in my city I feel helpless as the dead were given no dignity and the injured all left in pain.’
His report was released hours before the UN revealed that one million Palestinians living in Gaza had been told by Israel to evacuate the north.