In the days after Oct. 7, bombs started falling from the sky. Leaflets fell too, urging the 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza to head south for their safety. So Reda Sahoiun left her home.

The 40-year-old charity worker packed into a taxi with her elderly mother, taking a ring, two necklaces, bracelets, blankets and some painkillers. But when they reached her friends’ house in the southern city of Khan Younis, Sahouin found it was no refuge from the explosions. "It was not safe at all there,” she recalled. "They bombed the house next to ours without warning.”

Sahouin and her mother stayed only four days before finding a lift back home again. On Oct. 24, just before Israeli ground troops began a ground assault of the north Gaza strip, she realized she may have made the wrong choice.