Some 1,400 Palestinians shot by Israeli forces during "Great March of Return" protests in the occupied Gaza Strip face the possibility of "long-term disability", a United Nations agency has said.
The UN OCHA report, contributed by the World Health Organisation and the Disability Working Group, describes how Gaza's "health sector has continued to struggle with the cumulative caseload of serious injuries, particularly those requiring long-term rehabilitation".
One obstacle, for example, is that "the import to Gaza of materials required for the production of artificial limbs, including carbon fibre and epoxy resins, is restricted, due to Israel's consideration of these materials as 'dual use' items, which could be used also for military purposes."
Since the start of demonstrations on 30 March up to 30 June, says the report, a total of 15,501 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces, of whom 8,221 required hospitalisation. Among the latter, 63 per cent were limb injuries, and nearly half (4,023) were the result of gunshot wounds.
As of 3 July, 53 Palestinians had received lower limb amputations and eight had upper limb, with 11 of the amputees children. "Additionally, at least ten other Palestinians have been left paralyzed following spinal cord injuries," OCHA added.
As of 26 June, meanwhile, more than 1,400 Palestinians "with severe injuries are at risk of longer-term physical disability", including "454 patients who suffered severe vascular injuries and 954 patients who sustained comminuted fractures".