Fifteen people from the Gaza Strip landed in Abu Dhabi late Saturday on the first flight under an initiative to carry 1,000 Palestinian children and their families to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), reports Anadolu Agency.
“The first plane carrying 15 people, including children and their families, arrived in the UAE, as part of the initiative directed by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President, to provide medical treatment for 1,000 children accompanied by their families from the Gaza Strip in the UAE’s hospitals,” the Emirati Foreign Ministry said in a statement.“Departing from El Arish International Airport in the Arab Republic of Egypt, the plane landed at Abu Dhabi International Airport carrying children who are in the most urgent need of medical assistance, including those suffering from severe injuries and burns, as well as cancer patients who need extensive treatment,” the ministry said.
According to the statement, Assistant Foreign Minister for Health Maha Barakat emphasized that “all medical and healthcare staff, and the UAE’s hospitals are prepared to receive the remaining children and their families, to provide them with comprehensive care as well as specialised services in accordance with international standards and ensure they are fully recovered prior to their safe return.”
Barakat did not specify the date for the arrival of the other groups expected to be airlifted as part of the initiative.
“Since the outbreak of the crisis, the UAE immediately provided urgent humanitarian aid and supplies to the Gaza Strip,” she noted, adding that President Bin Zayed “issued a directive” to allocate a humanitarian aid package of $20 million.
Bin Zayed also ordered the establishment of an integrated field hospital inside the Gaza Strip, Barakat added.
Barakat said the UAE had so far dispatched 51 planes carrying 1,400 tons of food, medical, and relief supplies, to “support endeavors aiming at providing relief in the Gaza Strip, in coordination with international organisations such as the UN World Food Programme.”
Israel has killed more than 12,300 Palestinians in its air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since the surprise offensive by Hamas. The official Israeli death toll, meanwhile, stands at about 1,200.
Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques, and churches, have either been damaged or destroyed in Israel’s relentless strikes on the besieged enclave.
An Israeli blockade has also cut Gaza off from fuel, electricity, and water supplies, and reduced aid deliveries to a trickle.
Israel has rejected growing calls for a cease-fire until the release of hostages held by Hamas.