There are over 117 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the West Bank, however, the actual number is in all probability much higher as people cannot access appropriate testing. There is a desperate need for awareness raising for appropriate hygiene, healthcare, and testing facilities. While the Palestinian Authority is doing what it can to prevent the spread of the virus, particularly in the hard-hit area of Bethlehem governorate, its capabilities are limited due to the on-going Israeli and Palestinian conflict.
The Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC) has been systematically working to maintain its operations throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem to continue their work with rehabilitation services to survivors of torture. Due to the lock-down to prevent the spread of the corona virus, TRC has also seen a rise of cases of anxiety, fear, and stress in their clients. TRC are therefore continuing the regular work of identifying and providing holistic support to primary and secondary survivors of torture, violence, and their families, despite the movement restrictions.
TRC launched an emergency plan and modified the treatment activities moving them online, phone consultations and therapy. Survivors in need of medication are still receiving it through TRC’s mobile clinic. Through all these efforts, the mental health personnel can ensure that despite the geographical locations of survivors they can continue to work with their clients until fully recovered.
TRC are broadening their scope in their emergency plan by providing rapid interventions via hotlines and other means of online communication hereby supporting survivors of torture, violence, and ill-treatment in their recovery process. To address the growing issue of stress and anxiety, TRC are conducting online trainings and workshops in stress management, self-care, health, and hygiene to cope with the psychological effects the virus has caused.
Maintaining this hotline and enabling families to call in to discuss their symptoms and traumas will have a profound effect on supporting Palestinian communities to cope with the temporary changes necessitated by the pandemic
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This story is published in conjunction with June 26, The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. In honor of June 26 we will be highlighting the collective efforts of our movement to reach survivors of torture during the pandemic.