Lifting Blockade and Reconstruction Real Remedy to the Suffering of Gazans
2 JUNE 2016
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University today said that the real remedy to the suffering of Gazans would be the immediate lifting of the blockade and the reconstruction of the Strip.
Both institutions have jointly published a study entitled “A people in danger: Effects on health of the 2014 Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip”, which asserts that dealing with collective suffering through humanitarian interventions restricted to individualized medical services and psychosocial therapies stems from an inadequate understanding of the effects of military violence on public health.
The study, based on the analysis of data from a survey conducted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), examines the effects of the 2014 Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip on the health and well-being of adult Gazans. It also considers the cumulative effects of the traumas that the residents of the Strip have endured over the years, due to repeated Israeli military offensives and the protracted blockade.
The study reveals, in figures, the state of mental and physical health of adult Gazans. One in three surveyed Gazan report negative mental health status and well-being. More than a quarter of the surveyed population report suffering from moderate to high levels of distress. As for physical health, 17 per cent report suffering from hypertension, 10 per cent from diabetes and 6 per cent from cardiovascular diseases.
The study also establishes a link between negative mental health status and problems of food insecurity, distress, human insecurity, exposure to Israeli military violence, exposure to domestic violence, and feelings of deprivation and suffering in the Gaza Strip. Poverty also seems to be closely linked to chronic diseases.
To access the publication, please click here