Gaza evacuees plead for study to track increased illnesses

Before evacuation, 88 percent of the population was healthy; today that number dropped to 82%.

gush katif rally 298 (photo credit: Ahmad Gharabli [file])
gush katif rally 298
(photo credit: Ahmad Gharabli [file])
Gaza evacuees who have watched their medical problems grow in the last 30 months pleaded with parliamentarians on Monday to authorize and fund a proper study to investigate the matter. "What we know is that today more people need treatment than they did before the Gaza evacuation in August 2005," said Ronit Shoham, a social worker who advises the evacuees. The increase can be found in both physiological and psychological ailments, she told the State Control subcommittee that deals with Gaza evacuees. She relied in her report on information provided by doctors and nurses who work with the Gaza evacuees. Sody Naimer, a physician who works in Ein Tzurim with evacuees and is himself from the former Neveh Dekalim settlement, said that initial information showed a six percent increase in overall medical problems. Before the evacuation, 88 percent of the population was healthy; today that number has dropped to 82%, said Naimer. Specifically, he said, there was an increase in four diseases: high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular problems. Out of a sample population of 1,947, Naimer said, the number of cancer cases had risen from 23 to 47. The data already exists to properly analyze the problem, said Naimer. So far the health funds had refused to provide the information and the Health Ministry had not agreed to a formal study, he said. At Monday's meeting a Health Ministry representative said that there was no money available at present for such a study. Initial figures mentioned at the meeting indicated that the cost could be as high as NIS 3-6 million. MK Zevulun Orlev (National Union-NRP), who heads the State Control Committee, said the matter "had to be dealt with" and promised to push for a medical study.