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Dead and injured following airstrike near Tuba Mosque near Khan Younis
UN: Psychological trauma 'doubled' in Gaza since war
Published Monday 21/01/2013 (updated) 22/01/2013 16:46
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A wounded child is kissed by a relative at a hospital after an Israeli air
strike in the northern Gaza Strip Nov. 17, 2012. (Reuters/Ali Hassan)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Incidence of psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder have more than doubled in Gaza since Israel's November war in the enclave, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees says.

Since Israel's eight-day bombardment of Gaza, which ended on Nov. 21, 42 percent of patients treated by UNRWA for psychological trauma have been under the age of nine, the agency says.

"These figures represent a significant rise in mental health problems," said Akihiro Seita, director of UNRWA’s health program. "From my experience, I would say this is evidence of a psychological trauma and PTSD epidemic."

Seita added that the statistics did not include unreported cases of trauma.

"All the mothers I met in UNRWA's health centers said their children behaved differently during and after the war. Some don't sleep well, some don't eat well, and some don't speak well."

UNICEF conducted a rapid psychosocial assessment of children in Gaza in December and found a 91 percent of increase in sleep disturbances, while 84 per cent of respondents were reported as looking "stunned or dazed."

"UNRWA is stepping up its psychosocial counseling at schools and through home visits in response to this sharp rise in PTSD cases." said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness.

Gunness said UNRWA's community mental health program in Gaza cost $3 million annually and that the agency was in need of more funding to meet growing demand.
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1 ) Robert Haymond / Israel-Gush Etzion
21/01/2013 21:07
For the past ten years, the children of Sderot and other southern Israeli communities have suffered from PTSD due to the scourge of Hamas and its sister batallions launching missiles and rockets into the civilian areas of southern Israel. Has Maan ever, just once, reported on that?

2 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
21/01/2013 21:24
Every decent Israelite is sickened when hearing of all this abhorrent trauma but until the total conflict between ALL Palestinians and us is resolved this generation of Palestinians--and the next ... and the next ... and the next--will be poisoned with all the hatred, trauma, psychological maldevelopment and disabliltiy and hopelessness towards us as this and all previous generations have suffered from.

3 ) @2 / .ps
22/01/2013 00:39
how little you know

4 ) Outlier / USA
22/01/2013 01:20
Blame Hamas, which - through terrorism and support of terrorism - precipitated the situation.

5 ) Bemused / New Zealand
22/01/2013 01:52
Learn to count, Robert Haymond. The number and capacity for damage of Palestinian rockets is a small fraction of the number and destructive capacity of Israeli weapons used against Gaza - and the numbers of children killed by the respective rockets is THOUSANDS to one.

6 ) Sick of Settlers / USA
22/01/2013 05:03
#1! I'm sorry that you and your people in those ILLEGAL settlements suffer trauma! But, how can you even compare your suffering with those of Gaza, especially the children? Here's a few differences: 1.Israel uses top-grade weapons that fly fast and are very strong and can devastate any home or place in Gaza, while Hamas uses home-made rockets that fly much slower and are very weak. 2.Hamas is considered a terrorist, while Israel is deemed not guilty, usually. 3.Gazans have limited resources.

7 ) carine / UK
22/01/2013 05:21
Yehuda - If every "decent Israelite" is sickened and concerned about this "abhorrent trauma" and future Palestinian generations, why aren't you "decent Israelites" out in the streets protesting loudly against your government's treatment of Palestinians. Start the ball rolling, Yehuda, show how much you really care!

8 ) carine / UK
22/01/2013 05:42
RH - you'll find reports of Israeli children's trauma on Israeli news sites, and reports of Palestinian children's trauma on Palestinian news sites. Can't you find it in your heart to spare a thought for the children of both sides? Or do you think that Israeli children are more worthy than Palestinian children? Children are always the innocent victims, whatever the conflict.

9 ) Reader / from Edmonton
22/01/2013 05:59
Israel rains death and destruction down on the Palestinians, and it is mighty. Every decent Israelite should be sickened when hearing of all this abhorrent trauma, no if, and, or buts.

10 ) Jamie / UK
23/01/2013 00:40
@4 That's almost as insane as saying George W was responsible for 9-11 because of US foreign policy. IRA terrorists bombed London, but we didn't send the Royal Air Force to murder the innocent catholics in Derry did we? And if we did would we have had the gaul to blame the IRA for the massacre?? This evil massacre was an capricious act of revenge against the Palestinian people for democratically voting-in Hamas. It is a war crime and an act of terrorism far greater than any carried out by Hamas
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