A Quebec man is asking the federal government to help bring his wife and three daughters back to Canada from Gaza, where he says they’ve been stuck for more than a week.
Ghassan Elgadi last hugged his family six weeks ago, when his wife Ola took the girls to Gaza to visit her ailing father whom she last saw a decade ago.
Canada has issued warnings not to travel in the region, and Elgadi said the family was aware of that. However, he and his wife thought this might be the only chance the girls – Dania, 3, Tasneem, 8, and Areej, 12 – might have to meet their elderly grandfather.
Egypt closed its border with Gaza after violent protests rocked the country a few weeks ago.
Now Elgadi’s family is unable to get out.
"There's no running water. There's no electricity," Elgadi says, adding two of his daughters are sick.
“I'm afraid something's going to happen to them,” he says. “They have to come back – at least for the school!”
Waiting for borders to reopen
Elgadi, a Canadian of Kuwaiti origin, says he has been calling the Canadian, Israeli and Egyptian governments for help –so far, to no avail.
He said he needs written permission to travel through Israel, and the Canadian government has told him to wait until Egypt reopens the border.
Elgadi says his wife has been loading the girls and their luggage into a taxi nearly every day, then driving thirty minutes to the border to try to get across along with countless others.
In response to an email query about the Elgady family’s plight, a spokesman for the federal Department of Foreign Affairs sent a link to travel.gc.ca, the government’s travel advisory and tips site.
However, Elgadi did meet Wednesday with Majid Hajri, an assistant to New Democrat MP Jamie Nicholls.
Hajri assured him that Nicholls will take up his family’s plight with Foreign Affairs officials, in the hope that they will treat the case as urgent.