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Australian doctor who devoted her life to help Palestine refugees dies in Gaza

Jean Calder [Youtube/ABC News (Australia)]
Jean Calder [Youtube/ABC News (Australia)]

Palestinian authorities in Gaza on Monday mourned an Australian doctor who spent years serving Palestinian refugees, Anadolu News Agency reports.

In a statement, the Government Information Office said Jean Calder died in the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, at the age of 89.

The statement called Calder "an icon of humanitarian work in support of the Palestinian cause."

"Calder insisted on staying in Gaza to pursue her humanitarian mission," it added.

"She devoted her life to serve the Palestinian people through her medical work."

The Australian doctor began her efforts to provide help to Palestinian refugees in 1981 as a volunteer for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Lebanon. There, she established a rehabilitation and physical therapy unit at the Haifa Hospital in the Borj El-Brajneh refugee camp to serve people with disabilities.

She also volunteered as a doctor in field hospitals in Lebanon during the Israeli war on the country in 1982.

That same year, Calder moved to Egypt, where she founded another rehabilitation centre for Palestinians in the country.

In 1997, the Australian doctor moved to Gaza, where she founded the University College of Ability Development, under the supervision of the Red Crescent Society, where she worked as a volunteer until a few years before her death.

Home to a population of 2.3 million, the Gaza Strip has been reeling under a years-long Israeli blockade since 2007, badly affecting livelihood in the territory.

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