Saturday, February 14, 2009

'The aftermath of war in Gaza'

By Staff ∙ Mèdicins sans Frontiéres ∙ February 13, 2009

A Palestinian woman sits on the rubble of her destroyed house after an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. December 30, 2008. Photo by REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.Throughout the Israeli offensive on Gaza, Sana Rajab and Mohamed "Abu Abed" Mughaiseeb worked at the heart of the emergency health services run by MSF. Sana, a nurse, and Abu Abed, a doctor, are first and foremost Palestinians from the Gaza strip. "Every single one of us, without exception, has suffered in this war", they explain.

Today, Sana works with the mobile teams, which visit areas worst affected by the violence and the various healthcare facilities to identify and refer patients to the MSF hospital. Abu Abed coordinates MSF medical programmes in the Gaza strip. Both remain shocked at the trauma suffered by Palestinian population.

Sana talks of the time she spent listening at length to an injured man. "He had been shot in the arm. Three of his brothers and his only sister had been killed. He couldn’t stop talking. I listened to him, and then kept on listening. It was very painful."

Abu Abed adds, "There are stories which are really difficult to hear. During the bombings, the Israeli army decreed a daily three-hour cease-fire. There were children who used to wait for this relative calm to go to the toilet! Can you imagine a child of five, so terrorised that he’s holding it in and asking his mother when the lull in the fighting will be so he can go to the toilet?"

The memories keep on coming. The conversation is animated. "If we begin to remember every tragic story, we’ll never stop" says Sana.

Today, war has given way to the aftermath of war - to physical and psychological wounds. The MSF mental health programme, which has been in place in Gaza for several years, is now offering psychological support for the emergency medical team staff, who found themselves on the front line providing emergency war aid.

"Young or old, rich or poor, black or white, Muslim or any other religion, we’ve all been affected," Abu Abed concludes. "So many people have been injured; others have lost a brother or a friend; and still others have had their homes destroyed... Every inhabitant of the Gaza Strip, without exception, has suffered in this war.”

1 comment:

  1. we all shall stand up for those brave doctors who are doing their humanenitarian job in this horribale condition...god bless you Sana ..God bless you abu abed