Saudi relief supplies reach Palestine

RIYADH: On the orders of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia is sending several planeloads of relief supplies to Palestinians.

“At least six planeloads of relief materials will be sent for the injured Palestinian patients within a week from now,” Khaled Al-Mirghalani, the official spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said yesterday.

The Palestinian Red Crescent received medicines and other relief supplies sent from the Kingdom over the past few days at the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

“The first consignment of the succor is now on its way to Palestine,” said Al-Mirghalani, adding that the rest of the cargo planes will be reaching there over the next few days. This will be by far the largest relief convoy from any single country for the Palestinian victims amid ongoing Israeli attacks.

A second Saudi aircraft, carrying 16 tons of food and medicine, arrived at Arish airport, which is the nearest Egyptian airport to Gaza crossing, yesterday afternoon. Two cargo planes carrying relief supplies had left Riyadh airbase on Tuesday night.

“King Abdullah has ordered an adequate response to the needs of the growing number of wounded Palestinians,” said Al-Mirghalani. “The Kingdom has decided to send one planeload of relief materials every day,” he said.

He pointed out that another cargo plane would leave Riyadh today. “Our two Medevac planes with more than 24 doctors and paramedical staff are waiting at Areesh Airport to airlift wounded Palestinians,” said Al-Mirghalani.

Each of the two Medevac planes has seven ICU beds besides regular beds. Dozens of hospitals in Riyadh are fully geared to receive Palestinian victims of the ongoing conflict as soon as they are airlifted here.

The health ministers of Gulf countries strongly condemned the brutal Israeli onslaught on Gaza. “This aggression, which violates all international laws and human traditions known in history, should be stopped immediately,” said Hamad Al-Manie, minister of health and chairman of GCC Health Ministers Council.

The council said in a statement that Israel’s continuous aggression, which is resulting in the death of civilians in densely populated areas, and the long-standing siege would exacerbate the tragic health conditions of people of Gaza. The council added that a lack of basic health care in the area to help wounded people who are in need of immediate aid would further exacerbate the situation.

It added that all GCC member states should pool their resources in helping the Palestinians and bringing them relief.

The council urged all regional and international health and relief organizations to provide aid to the people of Gaza, and called on them to make Israel accountable for its aggression.

“The situation demands a strong international stance against the aggression which has resulted in very inhumane and tragic conditions in which the Palestinians are being forced to live,” the statement added.

Empty blood bags

The Ministry of Health has sent empty blood bags to authorities in Gaza as part of humanitarian efforts to help people wounded in Israeli bombing, a ministry statement said yesterday.

The blood bags were requested by the Palestinian authorities, which said there was no need for blood as there are enough donors in Palestine.

The statement thanked Saudis and expatriates who have donated blood in large numbers, but said the blood could not be kept for long, as it needs special storage and preservation. It added that it was not possible to transfer donated blood to Gaza due to a total Israeli blockade, which includes food and medicine.

The Ministry of Health has enough blood for both the Kingdom’s need and when wounded Palestinians arrive here for treatment, the statement said. It also urged potential donors to contact the Saudi Red Crescent, which is in charge of international blood donations.

WAMY call

According to Saleh Al-Wohaibi, secretary-general of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), the Cairo-based International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief (IICDR) has called a meeting in the Egyptian capital on Jan. 4 to coordinate relief efforts of different Arab and Islamic aid agencies. WAMY, he said, would attend the meeting in order to step up relief efforts on a regional level.

He pointed out that the move to hold the meeting was primarily intended for aligning relief operations in view of the volatile situation in Gaza in particular and the region as a whole.

The IICDR has 86 Islamic organizations, including the International Islamic Relief Organization-Saudi Arabia, affiliated to it. WAMY is a founder member of the organization.

Al-Wohaibi said the response to the donation campaign launched by WAMY to help the wounded Palestinians “has been very encouraging.”

He said WAMY launched the campaign, with the slogan “Save your brothers in Palestine,” in all Saudi regions. It has allocated SR3 million in the first installment of emergency relief for Gaza and called on all scholars and civil societies to support the Palestinian victims.

WAMY can be reached at toll free number 800-124-4400 for more information about the campaign. Donors can directly deposit their contributions at Account No. 27960801066633, Al-Rajhi Bank.

Add Comment