Ms Nataša Uršič
T: +386 1 479 65 71
Since 1948, several generations of Palestinians in Gaza have been subject to conflict, displacement and occupation. In 1956, this tiny area crowded with refugees was invaded – and again in 1967. 1987 was the starting point of the First Intifada and in 2000 we saw the commencement of the Second Intifada. The withdrawal of settlements in 2005 was replaced by a siege in 2006. There was another invasion in March 2008, and a major one between December 2008 and January 2009. The twenty-two days of conflict in January 2009 left over 1,300 Palestinians dead and over 5,300 injured, as well as three Israelis killed and 182 injured, and caused extensive damage to commercial enterprises, public infrastructure and agriculture.
The next invasion was in November 2012 which left more than 160 Palestinians dead (42 children) and over 1.200 injured (more than half were children and women) and the last Israeli- Gaza conflict started in June 2014. Last conflict is the deadliest military operation to have taken place in Gaza since the Second Intifada, though both the exact number of deaths and the percentage of the dead who were militants as opposed to civilians have been in dispute. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 2,016 Gazans have been killed and 10,196 have been wounded (80% civilians) in last conflict. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 1,417 (72%) of 1,975 deaths they documented were civilians, of whom 698 (35% of all deaths) were women or children.
All these attacks wrecked civilian infrastructure. Families are constantly under strain in this environment and the repeated bombings and 'targeted' killings have left them with repeated traumas without allowing any time for proper recovery process to take hold. Gaza Strip is populated by about 1.5 million people living in overcrowded conditions with poor housing and deteriorating infrastructure. Nearly 50 % of the population are children under the age of 14 years (World Health Organization Statistical Yearbook 2009).
Thousands of children/young adults in Gaza Strip were injured during the conflicts. Some of them suffered severe injuries such as limb amputations. Although the physical and medical rehabilitation system is developing throughout the years in Gaza Strip, injured persons, especially children, are still unable to benefit from proper treatment and the use of appropriate medical devices.
What we do
Since 2009, ITF is supporting an initiative of at that time President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr. Danilo Türk, by implementing physical and mental rehabilitation of victims as well as local/national capacity building in the field of rehabilitation in Gaza Strip.
Since 2009 the following activities were done:
- Over 300 children were medically triaged in Gaza by joint URI / ITF team.
- Rehabilitation of 109 children from Gaza (eleven groups) at the University Rehabilitation Institute, Republic of Slovenia. Post-rehabilitation evaluation and check-up was implemented on the ground in Gaza Strip.
- Training for 20 local physiotherapists at URI Soča.
Additionally in 2010, ITF has set up a list of prosthetic and orthotic material (donation of SIDA) which was delivered to Artificial Limb and Polio Center (ALPC), prosthetic/orthotic devices workshop in Gaza.
In 2015 the project emphasis was given towards capacity building in Gaza. ITF with its experts implemented the needs assessment mission in Gaza in May 2015. ITF implemented two projects in Gaza “School- based psychosocial program in Gaza” and “Comprehensive rehabilitation of persons in need of Artificial limbs in Gaza strip«. ITF also delivered rehabilitation components to three centres that are engaged in rehabilitation of patients in Gaza. These centres are: Artificial Limbs and Polio Centre (ALPC), Palestine Avenir for Childhood Foundation (PACF) and PALFD (Palestinian Forum for Promoting Community Development˛&Democratic).
ITF has developed this project proposal to respond to the needs for technical assistance and specialization trainings for rehabilitation professionals from Gaza. The project goal was also providing psychosocial aid for the victims of recent conflicts in Gaza and delivery of Prosthetic Material to selected rehabilitation institutions in Gaza.
In 2016, ITF continues with projects in Gaza (“School- based psychosocial program in Gaza- Phase 2” and” Promoting Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) among Gaza therapists and affected families”).