Woman with Bonita Spring ties trapped in the Gaza Strip

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Hundreds of people in the Gaza Strip are taking refuge as the Israeli military pounds the region with air strikes.

Gaza’s overwhelmed hospitals are still working to help the injured, but the situation remains dire as many of Gaza’s people fight for survival. Among those struggling to stay safe is Emilee Rauschenberger, trapped in Gaza and whose father lives in Bonita Springs.

Rauschenberger is safe in a shelter with her husband and family. They’re close to Gaza’s border with Egypt in case they get the call to leave, but Rauschenberger fears that the call is not going anytime soon.

Rauchesenberger, her husband and five kids have spent nearly two days trapped in Gaza. They’ve been moving from shelter to shelter, eating stale bread and drinking water coming off a cart pulled by a horse.

But Rauchenberger and her family are still managing to smile.

WINK News was introduced to Zaid, 10, and his brothers and sisters.

Rauschenberger’s grandfather, John, lives in Bonita Springs. He came to WINK News hoping a news story might get the attention of the Biden administration and our congressmen, and maybe they’d help get his family out of harm’s way. The family of seven went to Gaza to visit Emilee’s husband’s family farm.

It all worked out just as John wanted it to. The Federal Government is on the case. but whether or not they get out of Gaza remains unclear.

“There’s no way to buy meat anymore. There’s no water in the tap. You have to wait hours in bread lines to get some bread, but our cooking gas went out as well. There’s still immense amount of bombing at night. We had quite a few strikes in our area two nights ago, so it’s a bit unnerving to go to bed at night, but you don’t really have any other choice. There’s nowhere else to go,” said Rauschenberger.

Twice, Rauschenberger and everyone have gone to the border hoping to cross into Egypt only to get turned away. She told WINK News that she can distract her little ones from the dejecting reality. Although, there’s no fooling 14-year-old Noora.

“It’s not safe and also when you’re at the border, you’re there, you can see the gate. You’re at the gate and you can just walk through to the side, but you can’t. It’s infuriating,” said Noora.

Rauschenberger told WINK News it’s hard to explain to her children why they can’t leave. Also, it’s even harder when they hear about Americans in Israel getting out safely.

“Biden left Israel and nothing is resolved is, again, heartbreaking. I hate like, I get emails from the State Department that says Americans and Israel have been flown out or put on a ship. We have nothing. And you know, we have no bomb shelters, we have no warnings. We have no guidance at all. I don’t understand why our lives are being put in jeopardy,” said Rauschenberger.

So, they will wait, pray, and make their best attempt at surviving.

During the President’s trip to Israel, he got the Israelis to agree to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. But Rauschenberger told WINK News she doesn’t understand why nothing was done about the Americans trapped there. She said she and her family have nothing to do with this war, yet their lives are in jeopardy.

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