Dr Essam Yousef, Head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza, called for intensifying support for people with special needs and patients in Gaza as they are the most vulnerable and suffering group due to the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip for almost 12 years.
In a statement issued to mark the International Day of Disabled Persons on Monday, Yousef said that those with special needs and chronic diseases in Gaza are experiencing different forms of suffering due to the tragic economic and social conditions that the Gazan society suffers from because of the siege.
He noted that this vulnerable group of people in Gaza suffer the most with regards to obtaining their right to heal care, education, and other basic needs.
According to Yousef, poverty and unemployment rates among people with special needs are dramatically increasing. He has made it clear that he cannot disregard or downplay the suffering of other groups in Gaza's society, such as orphans, women, and the elderly.
Yousef added that the suffering of those with special needs is different to others, as the suffering is further complicated by their health conditions and the situation of their society, which is suffering from the siege.
He also noted that the number of people with special needs in Gaza is increasing as a result of the repeated Israeli attacks and wars on the Gaza Strip, as well as the fact that Israel has let its war machine lose and allowed it to target innocent civilians.
"The Great return Marches have also doubled the number of individuals with special needs in Gaza after the Israeli soldiers targeted thousands of protestors participating in the peaceful marches. A large number of them were seriously injured, and many have become classified as individuals with special needs," he said.
He added, "We cannot ignore the role of the illegal blockade and its catastrophic effects on the health sector that have lasted for many years. This has caused the deterioration and exhaustion of medical equipment, a lack of medical expertise, and the prohibition of patients from leaving Gaza for treatment, especially in the hospitals located in the West Bank and the occupied Palestinian territories in 1948."