Covid-19 in Gaza

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Perfect Storm Under Military Siege

By David Kattenburg

As the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps around the planet, attention has been focused on the fate of the most vulnerable communities: those consigned to crowded urban slums, refugee camps and conflict zones across the Global South.

The people of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories — under permanent military rule; denied the most basic civil and political rights — are particularly ill-equipped to protect themselves.

Mariam Abualatta

Nowhere more worrisomely than in Gaza. The 365 square kilometer enclave, home to almost two million Palestinians, most of them refugees, has been under comprehensive Israeli land and sea blockade for thirteen years. Israeli military assaults in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014 have laid waste to much of its infrastructure.

Poor sanitation, lack of clean water, poverty, unemployment and an acute shortage of hospital beds and equipment are a perfect storm for disease transmission.

At the time of this post, nine Gazans have tested positive for Covid-19. The potential for a major outbreak is huge.

I spoke with Mariam Abualatta about the current situation. Abualatta is project and fundraising officer of the Aisha Association for Woman and Child Protection. I reached her by Skype, in Gaza City. Listen to our conversation here:

Images by Mariam Abualatta

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