Gaza Strip: Aiding the Vulnerable

Handicap International is preparing to aid the most vulnerable people who have been hit by the latest conflict in the Gaza Strip.

“Following a recent upsurge in violence, our teams in the Gaza Strip have had to suspend some of their activities,” explains David Ligneau, Handicap International's head of mission in the Palestinian Territories. “So for the time being we can't supply relief to people who would normally receive it. But our teams are gathering information and helping to set up humanitarian emergency response mechanisms to bring into play when the security situation allows.

“Following renewed fighting and a downturn in the crisis, the most vulnerable people not only live under the threat of bombing but, because they're unable to move around, risk being totally isolated and in need of essential non-food items, medication and care. These vulnerable people are now finding it extremely hard to survive. This latest conflict will cause a lot of distress and we need to respond to it, just years after operation “Cast Lead” (2008-2009). We are therefore preparing to supply relief to the people of Gaza as soon as possible using all available resources to aid the most vulnerable people at the earliest opportunity.”

Handicap International's operation will adapt to events as they unfold and as new needs arise. Working closely with partner organizations, it will focus on meeting the basic and specific needs of vulnerable people. Handicap International is currently looking into the possibility of case-managing the injured and meeting their rehabilitation needs; it will also coordinate its efforts with other humanitarian operators to ensure people with disabilities have access to emergency aid.

Handicap International's local teams have been performing development and emergency actions in the Palestinian Territories since 1996. The organization makes it easier for people with disabilities to access services, such as health and education, and supports the development of disabled people's organizations and rehabilitation services. The organization's projects in the Palestinian Territories are run by a team of around 20 people. Handicap International works in association with 15 local partners. This relief network supplied aid to 4,500 people in 2011.

The organization ensures and facilitates the case-management of the most vulnerable people during crises, including people with disabilities, who are particularly at risk.