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OCHA: 'Significant increase in Palestinian casualties in Gaza'

Oct. 5, 2018 1:05 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 8, 2018 5:32 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released an overview of Palestinian casualties from March 30 until October 4 in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The overview report says that Gaza "has witnessed a significant increase in Palestinian casualties in the context of mass demonstrations taking place along Israel's perimeter fence with Gaza and hostilities."

OCHA added that the large number of casualties among unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, including a high percentage of demonstrators hit by live ammunition, has raised concerns about excessive use of force by Israeli troops.

"Despite significant assistance provided, Gaza's health sector is struggling to cope with the mass influx of casualties, due to years of blockade, the internal divide and a chronic energy crisis, which have left essential services in Gaza barely able to function."

The UN office also pointed out "key humanitarian needs" to Gaza, including rapid deployment of quality-assured emergency medical teams to conduct complex lifesaving surgery, procurement of essential drugs, disposables and medical equipment, enhancement of post-operative and rehabilitative care through multi-disciplinary rehabilitation teams.

Further key humanitarian needs that OCHA included were legal aid to address restrictions impeding medical patients from receiving treatment outside Gaza, mental health and psychological support for children and families impacted by violence, procurement of emergency fuel to run back-up generators at 54 critical health facilities and monitoring and documentation of the differentiated impact of the situation on men, women, boys and girls.

Under the title, "The Great March of Return" which began on March 30th, thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza -- which has suffered from a decade-long Israeli siege -- have been protesting at the eastern borders of the besieged enclave to demand their right of return as refugees to their original homelands, now in present-day Israel.
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