Life during COVID-19 under blockade in Gaza
How does a context of forced immobility interact with COVID-19? In a context where implementing the key public health measures necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 is impossible, how do communities respond? How serious a threat does a virus seem for communities living in contexts of long-term military blockade, protracted displacement and on-going violence? The Gaza strip has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since 2007. Two million Palestinians live within 365 square kilometres in Gaza, making it one of the most densely populated places in the world. Of this population, 1.3 million are refugees, and over a third of the total population remain internally displaced following the 2014 Israeli military operation, ‘Protective Edge’. Building on experience from previous epidemics in humanitarian settings, we know that political, economic and social realities severely affect the feasibility of public health regulations, and that community buy in to public health measures is critical to curbing the rate of virus transmission. This webinar presents research conducted in Gaza from July-December 2020, on community perspectives across the Gaza Strip on dealing with COVID-19. Drawing on 68 interviews and discussions, as well as a diary exercise with youth around Gaza, this study addresses the ways communities have negotiated public health measures in Gaza; trusted sources of information surrounding the spread of the virus; and the socio-economic impact of public health measures within communities.
Creating an important foundation for the development of the health response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, this webinar addresses the broader socio-economic impacts of the pandemic in a context of protracted displacement, on-going political violence and blockade.
Chair: Luigi Achilli, MPC, RSCAS, EUI