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Palestinian Territories

Supporting disabled people since 1996

During the summer of 2014, Gaza was gripped by conflict. The heavy bombing forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flee their homes. In total, more than 2,000 people were killed and 11,000 wounded, three quarters of whom were civilians.

Last summer, our teams provided support to the most vulnerable people, mainly by distributing walking aids and providing rehabilitation care and psychological support.

Since March 2015, we have conducted 700 risk education sessions on explosive remnants of war, benefitting more than 5,000 adults and children. Our priority is to prevent more people from falling victim to these weapons. We also assess damaged or destroyed buildings to determine the level and type of risks posed by the presence of explosive devices in order to speed up the reconstruction effort.

So far, the reconstruction effort in Gaza has barely begun, mostly because the Israeli blockade makes it very difficult to import materials. Our teams face the same supply problems as everyone else, even though the needs on the ground - particularly for the most vulnerable people - are huge. People with disabilities and those with injuries sustained during the war are still unable to live in dignity and autonomously.

Please donate to our Gaza appeal

Children at risk in Gaza
Children at risk from bombs under Gaza rubble
Handicap International today publishes a report “Bombs under the rubble”, evaluating the Gazan population’s awareness of the presence of explosive remnants of war (ERW). Following the Israeli offensive between 7th July and 26th August 2014, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) estimates that there are at least 7,000 unexploded devices and munitions, mainly mixed in with the rubble.
 
Gaza: Obaida takes part in a rehabilitation session.
Life in Gaza: “Families who have lost everything are suffering real hardship”
Gaza, September 2014. Successive ceasefires between Israel and Hamas have allowed people living in Gaza to meet their most pressing needs and humanitarian organisations to conduct relief operations. Despite this, the ordeal facing families who have lost everything in the space of just a few days is far from over. Samah Abu Lamzy, Handicap International’s project manager in the Gaza Strip, explains the problems facing families in most need.
 
Gaza crisis
Gaza: People cannot bear one more day of fighting
The three day ceasefire in Gaza allowed Handicap International and its partners to initiate essential relief operations, but these operations are now compromised by the resumption of the combat. At the end of the 72-hour truce, Samah Abu Lamzy, project manager for Handicap International in Gaza, describes the catastrophic humanitarian situation for the population and the impossibility for health and humanitarian workers to deliver the necessary aid in a satisfactory manner without a proper peace agreement.
 
 
A physiotherapy session with Nour, 5-years old, Gaza
© Till Mayer/Handicap International

Long-term activities

Handicap International has been present in the Palestinian Territories since 1996. The organisation has implemented several projects, including providing technical support to referral centres for people with disabilities. Our team is present in the Gaza Strip and supports activities to meet the needs of people with disabilities and improve their daily life (rehabilitation services, making buildings more accessible). These actions are performed in partnership with local Palestinian associations.

In 2009, the activities of the Gaza programme were suspended for several weeks during fighting, although our staff continued to perform outreach missions (assessments, etc). Following the ceasefire at the end of January 2009, the distribution of kits followed by the setting up of 'disability and vulnerable' focal points enabled us to provide a response to the people most in need of support. In 2010, we continued our activities, treating the complex situation in Gaza as an emergency, while taking a long-term approach. Since 2011, our key area of action has been rehabilitation. As of July 2014, we are responding to the current crisis in Gaza.

Key Facts - Palestinian territories

• Population: 4.4 million
• Household Consumption: not available
• Life Expectancy: 73.2 years
• Human Development: 114th out of 187
Source: UNDP HDR 2012

Our projects

Health Action

Supporting children with cerebral palsy

Goal: To ensure service providers working in the field of disability, parents/families and local multi-operator referral systems provide a satisfactory level of physical and psychological support to children with cerebral palsy and multiple disabilities.
Beneficiaries: Children with cerebral palsy and their families

rights action

Advancing the rights of people with disabilities in Gaza

Goal: To ensure people with disabilities in the Gaza Strip are better represented by strong organisations involved in coordinated advocacy and rights promotion actions.
Beneficiaries: Disabled people's organization

Health Action

Improving access to essential services in Palestine

Goal: To ensure highly vulnerable and isolated people with disabilities have better access to basic essential services.
Beneficiaries: Children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities, their families and communities; People with disabilities; Education staff; Rehabilitation professionals; Members of civil society organisations.

inclusive action

Prompting action to foster the inclusion of isolated and disabled people in Palestine

Goal: To involve multiple operators to ensure people with disabilities are included in initiatives conducted by local operators, including socio-economic activities.
Beneficiaries: People with disabilities; Rehabilitation centres.

rights action

Advancing the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities and the marginalised in the West Bank

Goal: To ensure the implementation of national disability laws and foster inclusive development in communities.
Beneficiaries: People with disabilities; Disabled people's organisations; Local and national authorities.

mine action

Reducing the risk from explosive remnants of war in Gaza

Goal: To make the reconstruction and demining process safer by reducing the risk from explosive remnants of war in debris
Beneficiaries: Debris collectors; Reconstruction professionals

inclusive action

Post Emergency operations to improve access to essential services for people with disabilities in the Gaza Strip

Goal: To help the most vulnerable people with disabilities access essential services in conjunction with our emergency response.
Beneficiaries: Disabled victims of the conflict.

mine action

Emergency response in the Gaza

More information is contained at the top of this page.
Goal: To reduce the impact of the conflict (fighting in the Gaza Strip in the summer 2014) by providing support to victims.
Beneficiaries: Disabled victims of the conflict.

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