Monday, January 12, 2009

Urgent help needed for medicine and relief items

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) is appealing for donations to finance the purchase of medicine and relief items for victims of the Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society made an emergency appeal for US$6.8mil (RM23.86mil), to also cover post rehabilitation and recovery projects to the MRCS International Relief Fund, MCRS said in a statement.

It added that it donated US$10,000 (RM35,087) to the Palestine Red Crescent Society in an immediate response to the appeal.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society had been working round the clock to provide extra staff to the hospitals, while volunteers and workers had been helping to evacuate the dead and the wounded from damaged or destroyed buildings since the beginning of the Israeli offensive, it noted.

“MRCS will mobilise a team to support the Palestine Red Crescent Society. The team will comprise a medical doctor and relief and logistic personnel. Another team would be readied for deployment if extra assistance is needed,” it said.

Donors can send their cheques to: Malaysian Red Crescent Society National Headquarters, 32, Jalan Nipah off Jalan Ampang, 55000-Kuala Lumpur.

The cheques should be made out to the “MRCS International Relief Fund”, with “Gaza City” written on the back.

Donations can also be banked into the MRCS’ Maybank account number 5144 2210 2657.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Agony over Gaza assault and young casualties

KUALA LUMPUR: It is heartbreaking for Datuk Dr Jemilah Mahmood to watch from across the Egyptian border the bombings of Gaza and see children being brought out with sniper shots in the head.

“A lot of kids are getting hurt. We can see the bombings clearly from where we are. Yesterday, we counted 20 bombings in just a matter of 15 to 20 minutes. After that, we stopped counting,” said the Mercy Malaysia president when contacted yesterday from Rafah.

“We saw at least 10 kids being brought out with gunshot wounds to the head.”

Rafah is a Palestinian town on the Egyptian side of the border and the only crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

Mercy Malaysia’s three-member logistics team arrived at the border on Dec 31 to assess the situation and send US$100,000 (RM360,000) worth of medical supplies.

Dr Jemilah, who is part of the team, said Mercy had so far managed to send 50 tonnes of medical supplies.

Mercy had set aside RM500,000 from its humanitarian fund for Gaza but the amount was insufficient.

She hoped the Malaysian Government’s pledge of US$1mil (RM3.6mil) would be given to Mercy quickly so that they could despatch the much-needed aid fast.

“Public response has been slow but their (the Palestinians) need is urgent,” she said.

She said Mercy had no plans for now to cross the border into Palestine because it was too dangerous and the situation uncertain.

Mercy was also getting volunteers from the 8,000 Malaysian students in Egypt, she said, adding that six or seven Malaysian medical students were currently helping out the team.

Meanwhile, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement that the water supply situation at the Gaza Strip was alarming.

ICRC water and sanitation coordinator Javier Cordoba said 10 of the 45 wells in the city were no longer functioning because of damage to four power lines that normally bring electricity from Israel to Gaza City.

Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the movement would mobilise all levels of the Malaysian society including schools and non-governmental organisations to protest the invasion.

“I appeal to everyone to be united in condemning the atrocities committed by the Israeli regime.

“We will organise demonstrations, seminars and conferences together with holding product boycotts and initiate a humanitarian fund,” he said in a statement.

Hishammuddin said an international conference on youth and violence would be held in Kuala Lumpur next month.

Copy write from the The Star