Ihab is still recovering from injuries but COVID disrupts assistance he needs
COVID-19 in Gaza means more isolation and despair for people with disabilities as aid and services for them have been suspended.
Ihab with his children | © HI
Ihab lives with his wife, his 4-year old daughter and his 1-year old son in a small house in Gaza. He was injured in 2019 when violence erupted at a demonstration as he was selling seeds and cold drinks in the street. He is since impaired on both legs. Lockdown measure complicate his recovery. He tells is story:
The injury changed my life completely. One year after, I am still in pain, under medication and have very limited mobility. I can only walk with crutches. I'm stressed and nervouse. I'm thinking of my future and my family. How I can support them and earn money to meet essential needs. I'm still a young guy and can't walk more that 100 meters due to the injury.
The situation became worst since the lockdown. Markets were closed including birds markets, so I couldn't sell the chickens I raised on the roof of my house. They have became too big and no one would buy them. How will I reimbourse loans and debts.
Afraid of the virus
I became afraid to leave the house to avoid the spread of the virus among my family. I spend all day at home. I became depressed, nervous and all the time thinking of my future and my family. I used to spend time with my friends or family who visited me at home. They can no longer com and now I feel isolated.
Rehabilitation services stopped
Rehabilitation services are suspended. I recieve rehabilitation services from HI partners remotely by phone including physiotherapy and wound dressing. They provide me with the dressing materials and I perform it at home and they monitor any complications.
I am in pain when I do the session myself and don't trust my skills even if I'm trained and monitored by the teams. I'm afraid that the wound will be infected. Plus, the visit of the team or to leave the house to go to the reheabilitation center was a good opportunity to meet people, to talk to them and express feelings. Now I'm totally depressed.
Hygiene against COVID
The easiest measure for me is to stay home and keep social distancing. I don't have money to by the essential needs so cleaning materials and disinficatnts are not priority for me. I have a small water tank: When I sweep the floor, wash clothes, have a shower and wash dishes it finish within one day and we keep all rest of the day without water.
Isolation and depression
My life became worst after COVID. I'm feeling so bad, depressed, worried about future and my family, worried about the impact of the injury on my future and the ability to join any work. I'm afraid that the relationship between me and my wife will worsen more and more since I can't meet the essential need of her and the kids.
I miss meeting people especially the outreach team and the services I used to receive after the injury to improve my physical and psychological condition.