Ongoing bombings in Gaza have escalated, resulting in devastation for vulnerable civilians on both sides of the conflict.
Laurent Palustran, HI country manager on-site explains:
“Over the last few days the bombings have increased in terms of violence. They are stronger and importantly they’re in areas with a lot of civilians.”
As of 16th May, the United Nations has reported nearly 200 deaths, including over 40 children between six months and 17 years old.
As the death toll climbs, so does the number of wounded. More than 1,200 injured civilians are quickly filling local hospitals requiring urgent care, and will soon be discharged still in desperate need of rehabilitation and psychological support.
HI rehabilitation specialists are equipped to intervene on the ground in support of people wounded by these horrific events. It is vital to prevent injuries becoming long-term disabilities by providing affected civilians with ongoing wound care and mobility aids such as crutches, wheelchairs and walkers.
Damage to the local infrastructure has left Gaza over 2 million inhabitants with limited access to food, water or basic hygiene supplies. Thousands of civilians have been forced to evacuate their residences entirely and seek shelter, primarily in schools.
“Older people, children and people with disabilities encounter great difficulty when they must evacuate, register at a shelter or access food and water,”
says Laurent Palustran.
“For a person with disabilities or an older person, waiting in line for aid can be particularly difficult. HI teams are taking action to assist such vulnerable people with their evacuation and then bringing them to shelters.”
To meet the basic needs of thousands of people who have lost nearly everything, HI is preparing for the distribution of hygiene kits and food vouchers.
Given the persistence and scale of ongoing bombings, HI is also concerned about the risk that explosives can pose long after attacks, particularly in Gaza, considered to be one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Dangerous shrapnel and dormant munitions left over from warfare present a continual threat to civilians, in particulr children. Risk education actions are often needed in the weeks or months following armed conflict to make civilians aware of the danger.
“Vulnerable populations face the most difficulties,” Laurent Palustran adds. “It is therefore absolutely necessary to provide assistance for these people. They have already been living in a chronic crisis situation for years and are still seeing the destruction of their surroundings today.”