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Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Jerusalem: YMCA centre for disabled re-opens
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¬†Christian Aid partner organisation, the East Jerusalem YMCA Rehabilitation Centre for disabled people, has re-started its work in the wake of Israel's invasions in April. Israel imposed a curfew and prevented Palestinians moving freely during its occupation, and many non-governmental organisations including Christian Aid partners were consequently unable to work. Their offices also came under direct attack ≠ many were ransacked and severely damaged. Israeli forces began withdrawing from the area at the end of April. Christian Aid received its first communication for weeks from the centre on Wednesday. The director, Nader Abu Amsha, said: 'We were unable to communicate with the outside world during the Israeli invasion to the area because they cut off the phone lines. "Israel invaded most of the West Bank and caused a huge amount of destruction to homes, offices, roads and shops. The YMCA was no exception. Our offices in Tul Karem, Nablus, Ramallah and Beit Sahour were all damaged to varying degrees," he continued. Based in the West Bank town of Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, the YMCA centre aims to help people living with disability improve their quality of life through training, rehabilitation, counselling and adaptation of homes. "There's been a dramatic increase in the number of injured, disabled and traumatised people registering with us for help since the invasion," said Nader. "We're trying to continue with our normal programme, as well as help those injured in the Israeli invasion. We're also having to re-think the direction of the programme because it's difficult for us to work in the way we used to. People can't get to us and our employees can't get to them because of continued restrictions on Palestinian movement and the destruction of roads. Normal life is impossible." "We're still trying to help rehabilitate those who have been injured and disabled, but we're also offering counselling for those who have regrettably become victims of the violence. However, because the Israelis are still restricting movement between our towns and villages, we can only treat people from the Bethlehem area. This could put disabled people in outlying villages and other towns in an impossible situation."
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