Thursday, August 31, 2006

PR: Situation in Gaza Deteriorates

Gaza – A view from the inside
(Jerusalem – August 31, 2006) – "The reality in which we are living in Gaza can only be described as miserable and wretched." (Dr. G. Hamad – PA Government spokesman quoted from the Al Ayyam Newspaper – August 29 2006)

When you walk in the streets, you find garbage is everywhere. Many streets are closed because of the numerous mourning tents in memoriam of the dead. PNA employees are not getting their salaries. Gunmen are spread in the streets. The electricity is often cut off and the water is not clean. Above all, the Israeli Army is still making incursions into Gaza, killing and injuring the people and demolishing the houses in many areas. This is the situation in the Gaza Strip these days.

On August 30, there has been another incursion and it is directed at the civilians in Shejaeye, where ten Palestinians were killed and where civilians and the journalists were also targeted. All of this is happening amid the deafening silence of the international community and during the visit of Mr. Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General. (Al Quds Newspaper, August 31 2006)

These incursions are causing many severe injuries among the people especially the young men. Many areas like Maghazy, Toffah, Zaytoun, Beit Hanoun and recently Shejaeya have faced Israeli assaults and hundreds of injuries have been the result. During the last two months, these military operations have left catastrophes to many Palestinian families.

After every Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, destruction spreads. Trees are rooted out. Roads are destroyed. Israeli bulldozers smash everything. Moreover, people lose parts of their bodies and sometimes they lose their lives. Last month, tens of young men lost their arms and legs.

Dr. Bandalay El Sayegh, the Director of Caritas Jerusalem's Gaza Medical Center said, "The wounds are mostly in the reproductive organs and the lower parts of the body."
He added, "The medical care items we have stored for emergencies are close to being depleted. This is because of the huge number of wounded following the incursions."

More than 200 Palestinians were killed and hundreds were wounded during the last two months. The number of killed and wounded people is increasing day by day.

Hamed Hirzallah, a 20 year old from Gaza, said: "I was among some men and suddenly an Israeli shell targeted us. I don’t know from where it came!" Hamed lost one of his legs and the other leg was severely injured. His left hand is now broken and he has many wounds in his body. He now needs a prosthetic for his leg and walkers.

Mohamed Farahat, a volunteer for Caritas, said, "The doctor and I walk hundreds of meters in order to reach the injured. It is a duty, especially so now because so many injured are not receiving proper medical treatment." Not only is the Caritas team providing primary medical treatment, they are also following up on injured people on an ongoing basis.

Arafat Adel Bolbol, 16 years old, has been injured in both of his thighs. His right leg was amputated. This happened after he was targeted by the Israeli army in Toffah in Gaza last month. Arafat now needs a prosthetic for his leg.

The Caritas Medical team walks to the houses of the injured. They walk through narrow streets smelling burnt rubbish. The atmosphere is not healthy even for the people who are uninjured. When the Caritas Medical team reaches the injured, often there is no electricity, which is important for every day life.

Zeyad, Mohamed and Mahmoud Karam are brothers all living together in one house. All of them are injured. Zeyad has a muscle torn in his right knee and injuries in all over his body. Mohamed has an injury in his stomach and another in his foot. The youngest brother, Mahmoud, has his left hand broken.

Another house, another amputee. Emad Marzouq is 37 years old and he lost both his legs. He has injuries in his back, thighs and his right armpit. He needs a wheelchair in order to get out of bed.

Yousef Abu Shoaib, 24 years old, is another double amputee and his back is also severely burned. He was also injured during Toffah incursion in the 27th July, 2006. Yousef said, "I feel real pain in my back during the night when I want to sleep." He needs a medical bed and a wheelchair.

These are all cases that the Caritas Medical team is following up on. These people have been seriously injured and they need ongoing care. The Caritas Medical team is working to let them know that they are not forgotten.

Talking about some of the needs in Gaza, Dr. El Sayegh said: "We in Caritas want wheelchairs, medical beds and many basic medical materials in order to cover this amount of injuries in Gaza." The Caritas Jerusalem Program Manager for Health, Mr. Jameel Khoury said: "We are in daily contact with our medical team in Gaza and are working to respond immediately to all of their requests on the ground. We certainly wish to thank our partners and those caring individuals who have given support at this time. Thank you all for your help."

For more information, please contact:
Communications Officer
Caritas Jerusalem
P O Box 20894
Jerusalem Israel 97200
Phone: 972 2 628 7574
Fax: 972 2 628 8421