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St Pedro de Betancur

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A child's story from Gaza

 If eight-year-old Samer lived in England, he would be considered quite ill. As he has kidney failure and is waiting for a transplant he needs to have regular dialysis treatment. But as he is living in the Gaza Strip, his situation is desperate. Because of the Israeli blockade on Gaza, Samer has not been able to travel to hospital for his treatment for weeks, and his condition is deteriorating by the day. His young cousin, Bassam Harara who had the same disease, died of kidney failure on November 6 last year. His parents fear that it is just a matter of time before he dies too. Samer's mother said: "Bassam asked me to watch over Samer. He used to come always to visit him. Since Bassam's death I cannot sleep at night. I stay up to check on my son. They won't allow him to leave the Gaza Strip. We are all exhausted and giving up hope that the leaders on either side care." There are hundreds of patients in Gaza in a similar predicament. People with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer are in increasing danger of death because the hospitals have run out medicines and they are banned from leaving Gaza by the Israeli blockade. Palestinian health services report that the medical situation in the Gaza Strip is approaching catastrophe. "Many patients have died already. But many more will die in the next few days as their conditions deteriorates" one doctor said. There are currently about 450 cancer patients in Gaza; 400 suffering from kidney failure and 450 with heart problems. Between 600-700 patients in Gaza require monthly travel for treatment and 250-300 medical cases require urgent treatment. Caritas Jerusalem, which has been working with the sick and needy in the region for more than 40 years has issued an appeal to readers asking them to to write to politicians on behalf of these innocent victims. Source: Caritas Jerusalem