The 50-day conflict was extremely violent, killing and maiming civilians, and displacing the people of Gaza to areas where they were less exposed to danger. After returning to their homes at the end of the conflict, they are now permanently exposed to the lethal threat from explosive remnants of war.
“Residents are still being killed and injured by explosive remnants left behind after the end of hostilities last summer. They are scattered across the city and make even the smallest journey and particularly construction work in the Gaza Strip very dangerous,” explains Guillaume Zerr, the head of Handicap International’s mission in the Palestinian Territories. “It has paralyzed an entire population. It’s very important to educate people about the risk from explosive remnants of war and to teach them best practices which can save the lives of people living in Gaza.”
Handicap International has already conducted nearly 700 risk education sessions for more than 5,000 adults and children since March 2015. The organization assesses damaged or destroyed buildings to determine the level or type of risks posed by the potential presence of explosive engines. If necessary, following the audit, civil engineering teams intervene to clear the rubble or demining teams are called to neutralize explosive remnants of war.
Over the six months following the conflict, Handicap International and its four local partners also organized 28,000 rehabilitation sessions for more than 4,800 people. Nearly 6,400 people have been directed towards services adapted to their needs which are dispensed by other organizations. Handicap International has also distributed 2,500 mobility aids (crutches and wheelchairs) and 4,000 non-food items, such as blankets and hygiene kits. Lastly, more than 2,000 people were given psychological support.