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Stress, insecurity high in Gaza after Israeli assault: Study

The Israeli assault on Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 inflicted high levels of stress and insecurity on its Palestinian population, a study published by The Lancet on Thursday said.



Paris: The Israeli assault on Gaza in
December 2008 and January 2009 inflicted high levels of stress
and insecurity on its Palestinian population, a study
published by The Lancet on Thursday said.

The paper in the peer-reviewed British journal provides
statistical backing for doctors who say the operation -- in
addition to killing around 1,400 Palestinians and injuring
thousands more -- left deep psychological scars.
Public health researchers led by Niveen Abu-Rmeileh of
Birzeit University in the West Bank carried out a survey of
around 3,000 Gazan households, numbering nearly 18,000 people,
six months after the conflict.

Eighty-five per cent of respondents reported moderate or
high levels of insecurities, fears and threats, and 49 per
cent said they had moderate or high levels of distress.

Thirty-nine per cent of homes in the survey had been
destroyed or damaged, and 72 per cent of households relied on
food aid. Of the 137 injuries, 101 had occurred since the
start of the attack.

"The Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip has ... resulted in
high levels of reported distress, human insecurity and social
suffering," said an abstract of the paper.

"The siege on this region continues to be the main
obstacle for improvement of the living conditions and quality
of life of the population, and is a priority for action."

The December 27 2008 to January 18 2009 offensive was
launched in response to rocket attacks on Israel from
Hamas-controlled Gaza. Thirteen Israelis were also killed
during the assault.
Asked to say what had been the biggest causes of
suffering in Gaza, the respondents named, in order of
magnitude, the Israeli siege of Gaza; the previous Israeli
occupation of Gaza; the Israeli attack; and internal
Palestinian fighting.

Funding for the research was provided by Medical Aid for
Palestinians, a long-established British humanitarian group.

The study was presented at a research conference on
Palestinian health, held at Birzeit University in March this
year.

The Lancet published it today as part of a large package
of papers on medical problems in the occupied territories,
including child malnutrition and cardiac problems linked to
repeated childbirth.

PTI

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