Gaza Strip Update: Situation Worse

Thursday, January 8, 2009
Mr. S. wrote me an update last night. In his words, "Now we can't supply them (his two CF sons) their medications regularly every day since the beginning of the war . Because of that I had reduced the amount and the dose of medications to our children in attempt to provide them medications for the longest period."

When in war, people have to ration. In America, we haven't had to do that since WWII, but this is a fact of life in many conflicts. Mr. S. is having to do this regularly since the war erupted a few weeks back. Not only food, which is in very short supply, but also medicines. That means instead of giving our daughter three enzyme pills before each meal, my wife and I might give her two or even one.

Another side effect of the current battle is loss of sleep, which can wreak havoc on weakened bodies. From Mr. S. "At night , I collect all my family members and we set in the hall of the home to avoid any injury..." Also, "We spent long hours in dark with out electricity and water. We set waiting the day , the morning the sun rise ."

Mr. S. has tried locating other CF families in Gaza, but has had trouble doing so. Some of those he has been able to account for have lost homes and are now living in refugee camps. With electricity intermittent, it is almost impossible even to run nebulizers consistently. Those in the CF community are knowledgeable of what this machine does and how vital the nebulizer is for CF health.

The United States has backed a proposal from Egypt (cosponsored by France) to grant at least a temporary halt to hostilities. This is good news for the people with CF in the Gaza Strip. Without US backing, few peace plans will appeal to both sides of the conflict. According to Reuters, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated, "We believe a ceasefire is necessary," adding she was pressing Israel to move forward with an Egyptian proposal backed by Europeans.

As I said in the beginning of this series on Gaza, I won't present a particular political side. These are the facts from CF-affected families in the Gaza Strip. I am now in contact with an individual in Israel who works with the CF families there, and I hope to have a detailed report for you from the other side of the conflict in the next few days.