September 12, 2014 OPINION/NEWS




Maha Elbanna

“In some places it looks like a Tsunami has hit this area”. With these words, Dr Henia Dakkak, United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Technical Advisor, who is visiting Gaza for a few days to assess the humanitarian situation, described what she had seen in the heavily populated Strip.

Dr Dakkak, accompanied by Dr Ali Shaar, the organisation’s National Program Officer and Mr Osama Abu Eita, Head of the Gaza Sub office, visited a shelter at Bahrain Kingdom Prep Boys School in Tel Alhawa neighborhood, west of Gaza city, to check the progress of a joint project the UNFPA is implementing in cooperation with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society.

The visiting delegates met with the female doctor on site who briefed them on the situation of women there and the main problems facing them: violence related issues as well as the feeling of lack of stability and security. Families who are still in shelters at this point are the ones who no longer have homes to return to.

According to Dr Dakkak, the Gaza Strip will need fifteen years of rehabilitation before life can go back to normal, especially in regards to psychological issues. “In any area of conflict, a minimum of 10% of the population ends up with psychological problems that require long term treatment and follow up.” Dr Dakkak added.

In addition to rehabilitating a number of health centres that were destroyed during the latest Israeli offensive, the UNFPA has already implemented a number of projects that include the provision of reproductive health services, psychosocial support to women and children and the distribution of humanitarian assistance items to families in shelters.




Maha Elbanna

Maha Elbanna is a Palestinian American journalist. She works as a news reporter for the Saudi TV English Channel. Having lived and worked in Gaza Strip for the past nine years, she has reported on three wars, an internal rift and other major events. Maha also works for a health NGO, teaches English language and translates for an online news website. 


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