Gaza

Amputated

Wael A-Namla, 26, writing from Rafah. (Photo: gazaamputees.com)

In one brief moment, their lives were turned upside down. The Amputated project undertaken by Physicians for Human Rights - Israel brings the voices and experiences of those injured in the Gaza war in the summer of 2014. Those who lost a leg or an arm, those who—in a broader sense—lost their lives as they had known them up to that moment. The project follows a number of amputees, accompanying them as they deal with the amputation from the time of injury to date, in both the medical and rehabilitation aspects and in everyday life.

These people were injured in their homes, in the street, in hospitals: men, women and children, young and old, who lost an arm or a leg for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. To be in Gaza in July-August 2014 was, by definition, to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. There was nowhere to run or hide. Some 2,100 people were killed and over 11,000 injured.

For these amputees, the war last summer never ended. It only marked the beginning of another war, a battle to face hardships brought about by serious injury, the loss of family members and friends—and all of this in a setting beset by a humanitarian crisis.

They need to relearn how to live. How do you walk without a leg? How do you draw without a hand? How do you take showers on your own? They have to deal with a healthcare system that does not provide a full response to their needs. There is only one rehabilitation center in Gaza providing prostheses to amputees, some of them of questionable quality.


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