Islamic Relief is rushing USD1m worth of medicines to Gaza and appealing for funds as the latest conflict threatens to exacerbate chronic shortages of medical supplies in Gaza’s hospitals and health clinics.
Islamic Relief’s Hatem Shurrab is at the sharp end of the latest conflict in Gaza, where Islamic Relief is in the forefront of providing medical aid. It’s a scary place to be, he says – especially for children. And medical aid is urgently needed.
“My home is very near the main street in Gaza City and it’s almost empty, which is very unusual,” he explains. “Government buildings have been evacuated and the movement of people is very limited. Some parts of Gaza have no electricity and people have been panic buying bread and fuel because they don’t know how long this will last.“Every few minutes there is a new explosion and we hear it or see the smoke. When there is an explosion I can hear the cries of children in neighbouring buildings. You can sense how scary the situation is for people.”
Urgent Medical Supplies
Islamic Relief is the leading humanitarian agency operating in Gaza. We’re rushing USD1 million worth of medical supplies to hospitals and health clinics. Hatem and his colleagues delivered the first of the new supplies on the evening of November 15.
Without these vital supplies, the conflict threatens to exacerbate a chronic shortage of medical supplies. We’re appealing for £5 million to meet the urgent need for essential drugs and other equipment.
“For some time there has been a chronic shortage of medical supplies in Gaza, and we want to ensure that effective treatment can be given to those affected by the latest conflict, which is bound to exacerbate that shortage,” says Dr Mohammed Al-Sousi, Head of Islamic Relief’s Middle East region, who has just returned to the UK from Gaza.
“We are also calling for calm on both sides lest the conflict should escalate – the last war in Gaza at the end of 2008 lasted barely three weeks but in that short time 1,300 people were killed, 5,000 injured and 40,000 were driven from their homes.”
The medical supplies being provided by Islamic Relief include a wide range of essential drugs, including antibiotics and anaesthetics, and disposable sterile supplies such as tubing, surgical gloves, needles and syringes.
Islamic Relief in Gaza
Islamic Relief has worked in Gaza since 1998, with a wide range of projects encompassing emergency relief, child welfare, education, health and nutrition, livelihoods support, and water and sanitation. In the wake of the previous Gaza war we mounted a £30 million emergency response and reconstruction programme over two years, in 2009 and 2010.
Our health programmes have included equipping and renovating the intensive care units and emergency departments of nine hospitals, five of them in Gaza City, and renovating 15 of Gaza’s 57 government health clinics.