HI staff treats the wound of an injured woman in Gaza in 2020
Gaza

‘Absolutely necessary’ to provide assistance to vulnerable civilians

Violence in Gaza continues to reach extremes. Humanity & Inclusion teams are helping to evacuate vulnerable populations and are prepared to care for wounded civilians.

Ongoing bombings in Gaza have escalated, resulting in devastation for vulnerable civilians. Laurent Palustran, Humanity & Inclusion country manager on-site in Gaza, 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 May 16, the United Nations has reported nearly 200 deaths, including more than 40 children between six months and 17 years old. In Israel, 10 people, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier, have been killed, the AP reports. 

As the death toll climbs, so does the number of wounded. More than 1,200 injured civilians are quickly filling local hospitals for urgent care, and will soon be discharged still in need of rehabilitation and psychological support. Humanity & Inclusion rehabilitation specialists are equipped to intervene in an effort to prevent prolonged disability for affected civilians by providing ongoing wound care and mobility aids such as crutches, wheelchairs and walkers. 

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Increased deterioration and damage to the local infrastructure has left Gaza’s more than 2 million inhabitants with limited access to food, water or basic hygiene supplies. Thousands have been forced to evacuate their residences entirely and seek shelter, primarily in schools. 

“Older people, children and people with disabilities are met with great difficulty when they must evacuate, register at the shelter or access food and water,” Palustran says. “For a person with a disability or an older person, waiting in line for these goods can be particularly difficult. Humanity & Inclusion teams are taking action to assist such vulnerable populations with their evacuation and then bringing them to shelters.”

Humanity & Inclusion is also preparing for the distribution of hygiene kits and food vouchers. 

Given the persistence and scale of ongoing bombings, Humanity & Inclusion has also expressed concerns about the risk that explosives can pose long after attacks, particularly in such a densely populated region. Dangerous shrapnel and dormant munitions leftover from warfare present a continual threat to civilians, most notably children. This may necessitate risk education action in the weeks or months following armed conflict.  

“Vulnerable populations are the ones met with the most difficulty,” Palustran concludes. “It is therefore absolutely necessary to provide assistance for these people. They have already been in a chronic crisis situation for years and are still seeing the destruction of their surroundings today.”

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Image: Humanity & Inclusion staff treats the wound of an injured woman in Gaza in 2020. Copyright: Ibrahem ElShatali/HI