9 reasons why the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is about to get even worse
The truce may be provisionally in place, but the people of Gaza- still under blockade- continue to die from untreated injuries, the spread of infectious diseases, food and water shortages and delayed shell and mortar explosions.
Health workers have been targeted and hospitals are still at zero stock levels. They are unable to cope with the huge influx of patients who are in critical need of medical aid.
The support that the people of Gaza have received during these attacks has been unprecedented. Interpal does not want this to end. Remember- the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is about to get even worse.
1. Untreated injuries, dying patients
The current Palestinian death toll stands at 1,910. This figure will continue to increase due to the 10,000 injured Palestinians who are struggling to get access to basic healthcare.
Hospitals are at zero stock levels and due to the destruction of Gaza’s only power plant are not getting sufficient access to electricity to treat the huge influx of injured patients.
Follow this link here for more information about the Zero Stock List.
2. The spread of infectious diseases
Gaza is now experiencing a spread of infectious and water-borne diseases brought on by contaminated water, incapacitated sewage pumps, restrictions on burying the dead and the destruction of hygiene facilities.
Diseases such as smallpox and scabies are spreading- with no treatment available to the vast majority of Gazans: “My children weren’t killed in the war but they are going to die from the fever and the scabies…We can’t treat them and we don’t have the money to buy medicine.” – Om Mohammed, a Palestinian mother
3. Water shortage
The water and waste water infrastructure in Gaza was severely destroyed by the Israeli bombardments. 1.2 million Gazans have little to no access to water or sewage services.
The destruction of Gaza’s power plant has incapacitated desalination plants, wastewater treatment plants and pumping stations, leaving the population with an increased risk of drinking contaminated water.
4. Unexploded bombs
During these attacks, the Israeli military dropped around 10,000 tonnes of explosives on the Gazan population. There are estimated to be around 2000 unexploded shells and mortars scattered across the besieged Gaza Strip.
With the capacity of bomb disposal experts extremely restricted, Palestinians (particularly children) are at even further risk of being killed or injured.
5. Widespread displacement of Gazans
Around a third of Gaza’s population – 500,000 people – have been forced out of their homes, with more than 240,000 living in UN schools, 20,000 in government shelters and the rest staying with friends and relatives. 65,000 displaced people have had their homes destroyed or damaged beyond repair.
Pernille Ironside, (UNICEF) said that “Gaza has been set back by at least another few decades because there are entire neighbourhoods with nothing left but debris and rubble. It’s a devastating landscape”.
6. Food shortage
The conflict exasperated an already desperate situation after seven years of a blockade, with food insecurity at around 57% and where approximately 80% of the population, over half of whom are children, are dependent on external assistance.
People are struggling to access food. The destruction of Gaza’s sole power plant has badly affected the food supply, shutting off refrigerators and forcing bakeries to drastically reduce their bread production. People are unable to run a refrigerator to keep food fresh and have no other choice than visit markets to buy food, which is extremely risky given the ongoing bombardment.
7. Physically and psychologically damaged children
448 children have been killed and 2,502 injured since the beginning of the conflict. Dr Abu Sitta (Al-Shifa Hospital) said that 80% of the children he had seen would be left with at least some permanent disability or deformity: “Israel is creating a generation of disabled adults … and for these kids, there is no one left to care for them.”
Every child under seven has lived through three conflicts in Gaza and UNICEF has recently estimated that 400,000 children require immediate psychological support because of severe and persisting psychological trauma.
8. Targeting of health professionals
There is a lack of doctors, nurses and paramedics and hospitals are struggling to cope with the admissions of casualties. 23 health professionals have been killed and 81 injured while carrying out their duties.
recently accused the Israeli military to have deliberately conducted attacks against hospitals and health professionals in Gaza:
“Our ambulances are often targeted although they are clearly marked and display all signs that they are ambulances.” – Dr Bashar Murad, Director of Palestinian Red Crescent Society’s (PRCS) emergency and ambulance unit.
9. Years of recovery
According to the Palestinian Authority, the reconstruction of Gaza will cost at least $ 6 billion. An estimated 500 businesses (including 134 factories) have been struck by Israeli bombs and more than 30,000 workers have lost their jobs because of the military operation, bringing the unemployment rate to more than 55%. Gaza economy expert Maher al-Tabbaa said that it was a “massacre of the Palestinian economy that will hinder recovery for years”.
Since the beginning of the conflict, Interpal has been on the ground providing urgent food, water, and financial aid to thousands of families in desperate need. We have been distributing summer blankets and hygiene kits to displaced people in various areas of the Gaza strip. We have set up medical points, hired qualified ambulance services teams to support Al-Shifa hospital and delivered essential medical supplies and medicines to Al-Shifa, Al-Nasser, Jabaliya and El Wafa hospitals. We are supporting the work of the Palestine Trauma Centre. Their teams are providing psychological support to hundreds of children and their families.
But our work is far from being done. Our long-term objective is to rebuild Gaza and help Palestinians recover from the ongoing devastating trauma they experience. We will help rebuild houses, health infrastructures and universities. We will work hard to help rebuild not just their homes but their lives.
We can only do this with your help. If you would like to help us carry on our much needed work, please make a donation by visiting www.interpal.org or calling 0208 961 9993. You can also start Fundraising for Gaza or write a letter to the UK Foreign Secretary. Thank you for your support.
This International Women's Day, on March 8th 2019, host your own afternoon tea and support the legacy of extraordinary Palestinian women like the late medic, Razan al Najjar.
All funds raised will go towards our Razan al Najjar Scholarship Fund which provides training to even more paramedics in Gaza.