Press Statement – MERCY Malaysia poised to deliver more emergency medical aid to Gaza

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PRESS STATEMENT

MERCY MALAYSIA POISED TO DELIVER MORE EMERGENCY MEDICAL AID TO GAZA

KUALA LUMPUR, SATURDAY, JANUARY 10, 2009
– The further disruption of medical services in Gaza has prompted MERCY Malaysia to draw up a comprehensive plan of action which includes providing ambulances and a mobile blood bank unit to help address the pressing needs faced by the Palestinian people.

“Four ambulances are at this moment being worked on to be fully-equipped vehicles. When ready, they will fill a portion of the need for 40 ambulances.” Currently, there are only 30 in Gaza. The mobile blood bank unit will deliver blood supply to the wounded.

In Gaza, hospitals are running out of supplies and dozens of ambulances have been destroyed by the bombings.

“The needs are very high. Everything is needed right now. We hope to institute more health-related programmes through our local partners. We are not short of very good partners,” MERCY Malaysia President Datuk Dr Jemilah Mahmood said during a Press Conference at the MERCY Malaysia headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

To date, nearly 800 have lost their lives over the past two weeks and more than 3,000 have been injured. It is estimated that 1 in 3 injured or killed are children.

“We also feel very strongly that the need for psychosocial support programmes are urgent, plus, the need for highly specialised doctors,” Dr Jemilah, fresh from her 11-day stint in Egypt, said.

She also said that the complete breakdown of sewage systems in Gaza could cause diseases to spread.

“It is one thing to die in a war and another to die from a secondary affect,” she said.
Dr Jemilah, saddened by the atrocities which have befallen the innocent in Palestine, said there needed to be investigations into why schools were bombed.

“Children shot in the head by sniper fire – who is going to be responsible?” 

A second consignment of surgical sets and medical equipment worth USD100,000 is expected to be transferred to Gaza on Monday.

The first consignment of medicines and medical equipment weighing 50 tonnes, also worth USD100,000, were transported in five trucks earlier this week. Surgical sets and disposable items including syringes, intravenous infusions and bandages, were among the items delivered across the Rafah border.

To date, MERCY Malaysia’s Palestine Relief Fund has chalked RM5.35 million, thanks to the generous contributions of the public and corporate donors. MERCY Malaysia has earmarked the funds for immediate needs.

Asked whether MERCY Malaysia had enough funds, Dr Jemilah replied: “We have a simple policy. We will optimise whatever we have. How much, does not matter. What matters is the quality – that we will use the funds to the best of our ability. That is being accountable.”

Dr Jemilah thanked the Malaysian Government for entrusting MERCY Malaysia with USD1 million (part of the Palestine Relief Fund).

“We will not fail them.”

Dr Jemilah also thanked corporate donor PETRONAS for its contribution of USD300,000, as well as the Malaysian public for continuing its support for MERCY Malaysia’s work not only for the Palestinians but in other vulnerable countries around the world.

Meanwhile, MERCY Malaysia Vice President Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus encouraged Malaysians to continue to donate to the Palestine Relief Fund.

As at 2pm today, medical specialists, many who have been camping at the Rafah border, will be allowed into Gaza to treat the wounded.

A number of doctors were allowed into the Strip today whilst another group will be allowed entry tomorrow. In Malaysia, 20 MERCY Malaysia volunteer doctors are on standby for deployment.

Please donate to the Palestine Relief Fund through MERCY Malaysia. For CIMB users, make cheques payable to MERCY MALAYSIA through account number 1424-000-6561053. MAYBANK users may make cheques out to MERCY HUMANITARIAN FUND at account number 5621-7950-4126. Please indicate “Palestine Relief Fund” on the back of the cheque.
For more information, please contact 03-22733999 or log on to www.mercy.org.my

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