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Ihab is still recovering from injuries but COVID19 disrupts the assistance he needs

Emergency Rehabilitation
Occupied Palestinian Territories

COVID-19 in Gaza means more isolation and despair for people with disabilities as the aid and services that usually support them have been suspended.

Ihab with his children

Ihab with his children | © HI

Ihab lives with his wife, his 4-year old daughter and his 1-year old son in a small house in Gaza. He was injured in 2019 when violence erupted at a demonstration as he was selling seeds and cold drinks in the street. Since then, he has impairements on both legs. Lockdown measures complicate his recovery. He tells us is story:

"The injury changed my life completely. One year after, I am still in pain, under medication and have very limited mobility. I can only walk with crutches. I'm stressed and anxious. I'm thinking about my future and my family. How can I support them and earn money to meet essential needs? I'm still a young guy and can't walk more that 100 meters due to the injury." explains Ihab.

No income

"The situation is worst since the lockdown. Markets are closed including birds markets, so I can't sell the chickens I raised on the roof of my house. They have become too big and no one would buy them. How will I reimbourse loans and debts?" adds Ihab.

Afraid 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 became depressed, anxious and I am thinking about my future and my family all the time. 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 stopped

"Rehabilitation services are suspended. I still receive rehabilitation services from HI's partners remotely by phone including 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 if I'm trained and monitored by the teams. I'm afraid that the wound will get infected. Plus, the visit of the team or to leave the house to go to the reheabilitation center was a good opportunity to meet people, to talk to them and express feelings. Now I'm totally depressed." explains Ihab.

Hygiene against COVID

"The easiest measure for me is to stay home and keep social distancing. I don't have money to buy the essential needs so cleaning materials and disinficatnts are not a priority for me. I have a small water tank: when I sweep the floor, wash clothes, have a shower and wash dishes it is empty within one day and we have to stay the rest of the day without water."

Isolation and depression

"My life became worst since COVID-19. I'm feeling so bad, depressed, worried about the future and my family, worried about the impact of the injury on my future and the ability to start 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 needs 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." says Ihab.

Date published: 05/11/20


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