Damage to the El-Wafa Hospital.

Aid effort suffers blow

Jennifer Killen

A Gaza hospital supported by Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA suffered damage during an Israeli airstrike on July 18.

El-Wafa Hospital is the only dedicated rehabilitation centre in Gaza. It provides services to disabled children, victims of car accidents and strokes and, all too frequently, those critically injured by Israel’s repeated assaults on Gaza.

There were no casualties but all patients were evacuated and transferred to an “over-crowded and under-resourced medical clinic” (APHEDA website).

Australian unionists, community members and organisations have donated $640,000 to provide expanded services for patients from all of Gaza. Australian support has helped provide in-patient rehabilitation, outreach and community rehabilitation, neurology, laboratory and surgical capacities, elderly care, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, out-patient clinics and psychotherapy.

The offices of APHEDA’s partner organisation, MA’AN Development Centre, were also damaged by Israeli airstrikes.

APHEDA provides greenhouses, sheep and chicken units, and land rehabilitation in an area recently targeted with rocket fire and shelling. As it is too dangerous for APHEDA staff to travel from Gaza city, it is not yet known if the projects have been damaged.

International Trade Union Confederation General Secretary and former Federation President Sharan Burrow said: “The world cannot allow the injustice to continue, nor can it accept the prospect of yet more violence causing the deaths of innocent civilians.”

How to help

Donations to APHEDA’s Gaza appeal will be directed to the areas of greatest need in the current emergency and are expected to provide medical supplies for patients at the Red Crescent Society and hospitals and to distribute emergency food needs such as milk and staples to families who have been displaced by the bombings. To donate please visit www.apheda.org.au/ or ring APHEDA on 1800 888 674.

Jennifer Killen is a Life Member and Federation’s representative to Union Aid Abroad–APHEDA.