COVID-19 in Gaza means more isolation and despair for people with disabilities as aid and services for them have been suspended. This is especially true for Ihab, a father of two.
Ihab lives with his wife, 4-year-old daughter, and 1-year-old son in a small house in Gaza. In 2019, as he was selling seeds and cold drinks, violence erupted at a demonstration. Ihab was caught in the attack and both of his legs were injured. The lockdown measures put in place due to COVID-19 complicates his recovery. Humanity & Inclusion’s team recently checked in on Ihab. Here’s what he told us:
The injury changed my life completely. It’s been one year, and I am still in pain with medication and have very limited mobility. I can only walk with crutches. I'm stressed and nervous. I think often of my future and my family. How I can support them and earn money to meet essential needs? I'm still a young guy and I can't walk more that 100 meters due to the injury.
Loss of income
The situation worsened after the lockdown. Markets shut down, so now I can’t sell chickens that I raise on the roof of my house. The chickens have become too big and now, no one will buy them. How will I reimburse my loans and debts?
Fear of the virus
I became afraid to leave the house to avoid the spread of the virus among my family. I spend all day at home. I’m depressed, nervous, and spending a lot of time thinking of my future and my family. I used to spend time with my friends or family who visited me at home. They can no longer come, and now I feel isolated.
Rehabilitation services via WhatsApp
In-person rehabilitation services have been suspended. I receive rehabilitation care from Humanity & Inclusion’s partners by phone, which includes physical therapy and wound dressing. They provide me with the dressing materials and I perform it at home and they monitor any complications.
I am in pain when I do the session myself and don't trust my skills even though I'm trained and monitored by the teams. I'm afraid that the wound will get infected. Going to the rehabilitation center was a good opportunity to meet people, and to talk and express my feelings. Now that has come to a stop, and I’m totally depressed.
Hygiene against COVID
The easiest measure for me is to stay home and keep social distancing. I don't have money to purchase the essential needs, so cleaning materials and disinfectants are not priority for me. I have a small water tank. When I sweep the floor, wash clothes, have a shower and wash dishes, it uses all of the water for the day.
Isolation and depression
My life became even more difficult after COVID-19. I'm feeling depressed and worried about the future for myself and my family. I’m worried about the impact of the injury on my future and the ability to join any work. I'm afraid that the relationship between me and my wife will worsen more and more since I can't meet the essential need of her and the kids.
I miss meeting people, especially the outreach team, and the services I used to receive after the injury to improve my physical and psychological condition.
Humanity & Inclusion works to protect the most vulnerable
As of May 15, we count 166 new projects that aim to protect our beneficiaries and staff from the virus, and to help them during their countries' lock downs. As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, we're ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--to stay healthy. Learn more about our COVID-19 response.