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Monday 24th October 2016

Health impact of Gaza blockade

12th July 2010

The continuing Israeli blockade of Gaza is a public health issue, a recent study says.


The Palestinian study is a compilation of studies done on the effects of conflict on people's health in Gaza in the past year.

The researchers said that the blockade threatened people with long-term health damage, including stunted growth and malnutrition, and other effects due to high levels of stress.

The researchers also said that last year's attack on the Palestinian territory was particularly devastating for people's health, because it caused displacement, social suffering, and injury.

One woman described the trauma of giving birth in a city under siege as something she feared would kill her.

In total, about 1,400 people are estimated to have died in the 2009 Israeli attack, which destroyed an unprecedented number of homes.

Lead researcher Niveen Abu-Rmeileh, of Birzeit University's institute of community and public health in the West Bank, said that the siege of Gaza was a huge obstacle to the improvement of people's living conditions.

Kholoud Nasser, from the Ministry of Education in Ramallah, looked at Palestinian children's diets, in a study of around 2,000 children and adolescents.

She said that the data for overweight and iron-deficiency anaemia in Gaza alarmed her.

She said that she felt the region needed comprehensive and effective school nutrition programmes, especially ones aimed at all age groups, with special attention paid to adolescents and girls.

For the purposes of the recent study, the Palestinian research team analysed the quality of life in 3,000 Palestinian households.

About 30% of the people sampled had been displaced by the war with Israel.

About 75% of the homes destroyed in 2009 have not been rebuilt, but just under 40% of people had their homes either completely or partly destroyed by the conflict in 2009.

The researchers also found that more than 70% of Gazans were reliant on food aid, with 57% of them rating their quality of life as 'less than good'.

In another study, which looked at childbirth, five midwives and 11 women were interviewed.

The women described how they coped with the fear, violence, and uncertainty of being pregnant during the bombing of Gaza.

One woman said that, at night, she was afraid she would go into labour, because the Israeli military was shelling ambulances.



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