Jamie McGoldrick, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Occupied Palestinian Territory, told reporters that 7,000 Palestinians were shot by Israel at protests over the last year, with many hit in the lower legs.
“You’ve got 1,700 people who are in need of serious, complicated surgeries for them to be able to walk again,” McGoldrick said, explaining the wounded require rehabilitation and “very, very serious and complex bone reconstruction surgery over a two year period before they start to rehabilitate themselves.”
There have already been 120 amputations carried out this year, including on children. Over 29,000 people were wounded at the Great March of Return demonstrations at the fence separating Gaza and Israel, which started in March 2018. Israel says shooting demonstrators in the legs shows restraint.
The UN is looking for $20 million in funding for operations to avoid amputations.
Gaza’s health system is under strain due to a lack of funding and medical supplies. The only teaching hospital is focused on trauma medicine training now, and doctors do not have the ability to carry out the complicated treatment needed for those at risk of amputation.
Food supplies are also under threat because of a lack of funding to the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme (WFP). The WFP has already had to cut aid to 193,000 people in the West Bank and Gaza this year.