Gazan Palestinians donate blood to Beirut blast victims

Gazan Palestinians donate blood to Beirut blast victims
Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip set up a centre to donate blood to victims of the Beirut blast.
3 min read
08 August, 2020
Gaza is besieged [Getty]
Palestinians inside the besieged Gaza Strip donated blood to the victims of the devastating explosions that shook Beirut earlier this week.

Despite a deterioration of their own health infrastructure, Gazans in the southern city of Khan Younis launched an initiative to donate blood to Lebanon.

The initiative was in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.

"We are launching a blood donation campaign that responds to the call of the Lebanese minister of health," said Alaa al-Batta, mayor of Khan Younis.

He added that Palestinians people in Gaza are ready to stand in solidarity with the victims of Beirut.

Abdul Qader Idris, 45, said he donated his blood to "repay" Lebanon for its consistent solidarity with Palestine.

The father of four told Xinhua news agency that the Palestinian people have strong ties with the Lebanese people since they "protect the Palestinian resistance over the past years".

Gazans also participated in a mass rally and lit candles in honour of those who died. 

An explosion on Tuesday in Beirut's port area killed at least 157 people and wounded 5,000 others, wreaking damage across the coastal city.

The death toll is expected to climb higher as search and rescue teams continue efforts to locate dozens of missing people.

Officials said the blast was triggered by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate - an odourless crystalline substance commonly used as a fertiliser that has caused numerous industrial explosions around the world - which has been stored in a port warehouse for over six years.

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) warned that as economically ravaged Lebanon imports 85 percent of its food, the flow could be severely damaged.

The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, said it lost several containers of essential medical supplies in the blast, with personal protective equipment (PPE) completely destroyed.

Impact on children

The WHO said hospitals were overwhelmed with injured patients, with three hospitals now deemed non-functional, putting 400 beds out of use, and a further two hospitals partially damaged, putting a further 100 beds beyond use.

WHO called for $15 million (12.7 million euros) to cover immediate emergency trauma and humanitarian health needs.

It said hundreds of thousands of PPE items for the country's coronavirus response were destroyed.

UNICEF, the UN children's agency, said preliminary numbers suggested that up to 100,000 children's homes had been damaged or destroyed and they were now displaced.

"We have initial reports of over 120 public and private schools that have sustained damage," serving approximately 55,000 children, UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said.

The agency has launched a funding appeal for an initial $8.25 million.

"The needs are immediate and huge," Mercado said.

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