PANDEMIC IMPACTS VULNERABLE PALESTINIAN CHILDREN
Saving these lives is the priority of Project Rozana. A key to achieving that is our ‘Wheels of Hope’ transportation service. This is being tested in an unprecedented way.
It’s important for us to share the latest information with you.
The closure of the Gaza border crossing and the impending closure of the West Bank and the restrictions on the Israel side will put the lives of critically and chronically-ill Palestinian children at risk. These children rely on the organised volunteer transfer services for the management of their severe illnesses and ultimately on their lives.
We are working with our partners to mitigate the impact the pandemic is having on the most vulnerable in Palestinian society. Obviously, the health and safety of people is of absolute importance to us.
Here are the facts as we understand them…
We know that many volunteer drivers are under self-isolation and cannot commit to their normal routine. Others have stepped up to the plate, literally becoming a lifeline for patients who need to reach hospital in Israel for treatment.
Green Land Society for Health Development is responsible for volunteer drivers in the West Bank. This service has grown tremendously since we first partnered with them in 2018. Dr Akram Amro, its Executive Director, told us that the Palestinian Authority and Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, are continuing to support medical transfers. This is a great outcome, as the majority of Palestinians seeking treatment in Israel are from the West Bank.
On the other hand, Road to Recovery CEO Yuval Roth advised that almost all traffic from the Gaza checkpoints has stopped.
He said that while transfers from the West Bank to hospitals in Israel are continuing, they have dropped to around 20% of the previous levels. Part of this is due to the closure of checkpoints, such as Bethlehem, and partly to increased delays at other checkpoints.
As Yuval said,
“The world is changing before our eyes.”
Friends, together we will confront this ‘monster’ head on and defeat it.
Our priority is to ensure that every child in need of treatment can receive it. That is the promise we made when we launched Project Rozana seven years ago. It remains sacrosanct today.
We will keep in touch with our dedicated partners and continue to support them in every way we can. We know this is what you would expect of us.
Stay well and take care of your loved ones.
Ron Finkel AM
Chair, Project Rozana Australia and Project Rozana International.
Larry Lester, Co-Chair of Project Rozana grantee, Humans without Borders, said his service is being forced to rely on taxis, with fewer volunteer drivers available.
However, there is only limited funding for taxis, and this will become untenable within weeks.
“Right now we are making every effort to assist the families but we are in the most uncertain of times and we will have to play it by ear with a good dose of common sense.”
And, we received this very touching message from one of the volunteer drivers,
“They say that coronavirus is a danger to anyone who is 60 or over but I, at 79, have been around for a long while so I have nothing to fear. I will no longer die young. People of our age have a broader perspective on life because of our age. We share, with vision (following cataract surgery), a sharp and clear view of what is really important.”