A man sleeps on desks in a school turned into a shelter.
Bahrain medical mission to Gaza strip stranded
Manama, July 22, 2014
Escalating Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip are preventing a team of Bahraini doctors from flying to the war-torn area to treat the injured.
More than 10 medics planned to travel to Gaza this week, but have been told by the International Red Cross Society (IRCS) to stay put until a ceasefire is brokered, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
More than 70 tonnes of aid including medicines and medical equipment is also stuck in Bahrain, awaiting clearance.
Israeli forces defied a UN Security Council appeal for an immediate ceasefire yesterday, as the death toll from the two-week conflict crossed 500.
It has been reported that 113 missiles, 961 navy shells and 1,045 tank shells were fired into the Gaza Strip, and 44 houses were bombarded, while 84 rockets and 35 mortar shells were fired towards Israel.
Bahrain Red Crescent Society (BRCS) general secretary Dr Fawzi Abdulla Amin told the GDN the medics were prepared to help people injured in Gaza, but were waiting approval.
"The doctors' applications are being reviewed by the Bahrain Medical Society (BMS), but as of now everything is on a standstill," he said.
"Gaza is now a war zone and the ICRS has specified that none could travel until a ceasefire and in such situations the ICRS is the deciding authority on medical aid related aspects.
"The priority is now for a solution for the crisis and the international agencies are working on it.
"We are ready to send them, but we need an approval from all authorities concerned and also need to ensure the safety of these medics.
"We, at the BRCS, also do not recommend the doctors' travel at the moment.
"Moreover, we are not in a position to send people or any kind of aid across, unless we get a clearance from the Egyptian foreign affairs ministry."
Health Ministry hospital affairs assistant under-secretary Dr Waleed Al Manea said two plane loads of medicines and medical equipment were stuck at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC), awaiting logistical clearance.
The GDN earlier reported that 70 tonnes of medical aid was collected and the first shipment was ready to be flown out.
"As we are aware the borders are closed and we learn that similar shipments from other countries were returned at the Egyptian border by the army," he said.
"We are expecting the clearance any time for the 40-tonne first shipment."
However, a special airlift in support of displaced families in Gaza landed yesterday from Dubai, where a 747 cargo took off carrying 115 tonnes of aid, containing 45,000 mattresses, 10,000 blankets and 220 hygiene kits.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said it expects similar shipments to arrive in Amman in the coming days, which it said will be sent by trucks into Gaza.
Meanwhile, shortage of medicines at Bahrain's Al Manama Health Centre in Khan Younis was a major concern, according to UNRWA senior external relations and projects officer Munir Manneh.
"This was the only health facility that has been functioning amidst the curfew in Gaza City, where movement is restricted," he told the GDN from Amman.
"But the shortage of medicines is worrying as we are unable to procure the needed medicines, for want of funds."
The centre is reportedly one of 15 UNRWA health facilities out of 21 currently operational. - TradeArabia News Service