Medical aid convoy arrives in Gaza

16 Feb

Our message is: Gaza is not alone’

A warm welcome for the convoy team at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt today.

Sally Ibrahim, Gaza, The New Arab, 16 February, 2023

Speaking to The New Arab, Ghazi Hamad, the undersecretary of [Gaza’s] Ministry of Social Development, said that the medical convoy came after two years of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dubbed, the “41 Miles of Smiles,” the aid campaign includes medical equipment, medicines, devices, and aid for people with disabilities. [Kia Ora Gaza is one of the convoy’s international donors. See previous post. Ed]

The impoverished coastal enclave received a medical aid convoy on Wednesday that crossed through the Rafah border crossing, the only gate linking the Gaza Strip with the world through Egypt.

[Hamad] added that the convoy aims to alleviate part of the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza due to the “illegal” Israeli blockade.

Called the “41 Miles of Smiles”, the aid campaign includes medical equipment, medicines, devices, and aid for people with disabilities, according to Hamad.

For over 16 years, Israel imposed a land, air, and sea blockade on the coastal enclave after the Islamic Hamas movement, which won the legislative elections in 2006, seized the territory.

Since then, Israeli authorities denied entry into Gaza of various essential goods under the pretext that they have “dual” [civilian and military] capabilities; these include goods like building materials, specific medical equipment and agricultural tools.

To break the Israeli blockade on the medical sector, pro-Palestinian Arab and foreign activists launched a medical aid convoy in 2009 to deliver needed healthcare supplies to the Gaza Strip.

For his part, the head of the campaign, Issam Youssef, said in a press conference after crossing into Gaza today that the campaign seeks to express solidarity with the besieged people of Gaza.

“Our message is: Gaza is not alone,” Youssef said.

He added that “a six-member relief delegation plan to visit the impoverished coastal enclave soon.”

Ghazi Hamad, the undersecretary of Gaza’s Ministry of Social Development welcomes Miles of Smiles convoy leader Dr Essam Youssef, at the Rafah border crossing.
Ghazi Hamad, representing Gaza’s Ministry of Social Development, welcomes members of the Miles of Smiles aid convoy to Gaza.

Photos supplied by Miles of Smiles

[Slightly abridged]


Gaza medics protest Israel controls on medical imports

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