Munira, 67, lives in Gaza and faces daily challenges due to her disability. Her situation is exacerbated by exposure to bombardments and poor access to services.
“I live alone in a simple house, composed of one room, a bathroom, and a kitchen. My house is poorly built, water leaks easily into it, and the walls cannot keep out the cold in winter and the heat in summer.
Due to my disability, I have to use a wheelchair. This makes it difficult for me to do anything on my own. Due to a chronic condition, I have high blood pressure.
I am unable to work or to look for a job. My only source of income is a small benefit I receive from social services. This benefit cannot even cover my basic needs.
The situation drastically worsens when I need to buy some medicines that are sometimes not available in clinics for free. A few months ago, my health deteriorated again with fluid accumulating in my chest. Now I have to buy special heart medicines every month.
There are very few institutions in Gaza that help older people. I rarely got help even during the COVID-19 pandemic and the bombardments in Gaza.
When restrictions are in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the hardest for me. I know older people are at the highest risk from COVID-19 and can’t leave my house to see people. Because of my chest problems, it is difficult to breathe when I wear a mask.
I am aware how dangerous COVID-19 is to older people, but I am afraid to receive the vaccine. I’m afraid of the side effects people are talking about.
During the bombings in Gaza, I felt that my entire house was shaking. My heart raced as shells fell all over the place. At that time, it was impossible even to leave the house to get the medicines that I badly needed.
After the bombardments, my mental health was completely undermined. I’m always afraid they’ll come back.
I need security and a source of income to buy medicine and food. I want more institutions to take care of older people’s needs in Gaza. For a long time, I did not do anything in life that would make me happy.”
Story by El Wedad, Gaza