Gazan healthcare facilities have been strangled by an Israeli blockade since June 2007, when Hamas wrested control of Gaza from rival Fatah. Since Israel began its massive offensive against Hamas on December 27, 2008, conditions in Gaza's hospitals have faced extreme difficulty in their efforts to care for thousands of wounded civilians. Gaza's hospitals are overloaded and critically under-equipped, lacking bed space in intensive care units, as well as adequate stores of blood, antibiotics, and sterile surgical equipment. To make matter worse, ambulance crews attempting to deliver trauma cases to hospitals risk getting caught in the crossfire between the Israel Defense Force and Hamas.
Writer Elliott Woods and Photographer Asim Rafiqui report from inside Gaza documenting the effects of Israel's blockade and military operations on Gaza's medical infrastructure and on the daily realities of Gaza's residents. Woods and Rafiqui will document the efforts of doctors, nurses, and ambulance crews as they attempt to manage scores of trauma cases in dilapidated facilities. Through contacts in Gaza's mental health community, they will also explore the psychological ruin brought upon Gazan children by living under the blockade and by exposure to large-scale violence.