Members of the US Episcopal Church are urging support for Palestinian hospitals in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, in light of the coronavirus public health emergency.
According to the Episcopal News Service, American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ) “has launched an urgent appeal for support to help the leaders and staff at Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City make preparations to serve and care for its neighbours” in the days ahead.
The report noted how “Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth”, with life already “precarious and dangerous”, adding that “the presence of the coronavirus in this crowded, impoverished strip of land quickly will become a full-blown crisis”.
Last week, director of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem’s Ahli Arab Hospital, Suhaila Tarazi, said: “Social distancing and isolation of the infected is impossible for most Gazans. Families are large, often confined to a few rooms and live in close quarters with neighbours”.
“We are preparing as best we can. We are training our staff, bringing on additional staff and changing the hospital layout to accommodate COVID-19 cases”.
She continued: “We need protective clothing, respirator masks and equipment for staff, sanitizing supplies and triage tents. I thank all of our American friends for your help. Without your love and support we would be forced to close Ahli’s doors. Thank you for remembering us in Gaza”.
Meanwhile, in Nablus, the occupied West Bank, director of the Diocese of Jerusalem’s St. Luke’s hospital, Dr. Walid Kerry, appealed to American churchgoers to help provide “the needed medical equipment and supplies, medicines, protective gear and sterilization materials”.
“We are a charity hospital and barely cover our costs in normal times”, he added.
The Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, has backed the appeal.
“It is out of concern for each other, as fellow children of God, that AFEDJ seeks to raise funds…These hospitals provide ministry and service and care for God’s children and they need our support”, he said.