Emergency trauma response to the Gaza mass demonstrations

86 pp
Date published
27 May 2019
After action & learning reviews
Conflict, violence & peace, Development & humanitarian aid, Health
Occupied Palestinian Territory
Global Health Cluster

From 30 March 2018 onwards, the Gaza mass demonstrations took place across the perimeter fence with Israel to demand an end to the 12-year blockade and the right to return for Palestinians – they continued to take place in 2019. During the same period, there were a series of outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Gaza.

From 30 March 2018 to 30 March 2019, 28 014 Palestinians were injured as a result of clashes with Israeli security forces and 277 were killed, including 52 children. The World Health Organization’s analysis of the trauma caseload reveals that of the total 28 014 casualties, 92% were male (25 720), 8% were female (2294) and 22% were children under the age of 18 (6151). The majority of the injured were between 18 and 39 years old, 19 682 (70%). Although any health system in the world would be overwhelmed if it had to manage a high influx of trauma casualties every week; the most pressing concern was the staggering number of gunshot wounds.

Meanwhile, the continuous load of trauma casualties requires an ongoing response led by the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH), supported by the Health Cluster. Localised and innovative solutions, such as the Trauma Stabilisation Points led by the Ministry of Health and Palestinian Red Crescent Society have proven to save lives and also removed a burden of 41% of the trauma caseload from the already overwhelmed hospitals.

Over 75 international emergency medical teams from various partners were deployed, contributing to the emergency response working side-by-side with local health professional. Overall, it is estimated that between 435 and 1227 lives were saved by the established trauma referral pathway; and the number is growing as the demonstrations continue.