Indonesia’s poor donate $15 million to build a hospital in Gaza

Thursday, 09 January 2014

An Indonesian non-governmental organization has collected nearly $15 million from Indonesia’s poor and rich alike to build the first Indonesian hospital in the Gaza Strip. The hospital, which will serve those Palestinians living in northern Gaza, is nearly finished and awaiting some equipment before it starts receiving patients. It is due for completion in May.

Southeast Asian countries are known for their strong support for Palestine, especially the Muslim communities who spend many efforts to visit and support Gaza. Fikri Fikri, a 24 year-old young man from Sumatra, is a volunteer at Indonesia’s Medical Emergency Rescue Committee, known as MER-C. He and 28 other Indonesians have been in Gaza for nearly four months to finalize building the hospital.

Fekri told Quds.net that: “We are nearly 30 people between workers, engineers, doctors and technicians. Many of us have already returned home because the work here is almost completed.” Fekri described how “Indonesian civil society groups in Jakarta collected donations from people who were happy to support Gaza, even though many of them suffered uneasy financial situations.”

When asked if they face any problems in Gaza, Fekri responded that: “The people like us here. We have only encountered a small problem with the local Ministry of Health because the organization wanted to have an office near the hospital but the ministry refused to allow this. But we will solve it.”

Fekri, who studies sharia at the Islamic University of Gaza, explained how: “We have taken risks to complete the hospital. It’s a nice feeling to help the wounded in Gaza who suffer from Israeli aggression. We have come here and we know that it’s not easy, but we are happy. I have learned Arabic in an acceptable way. However, I’m not married so I miss my home and my country.”

Abu Mohammed, a 42 year-old Indonesian engineer who joined the mission, said: “I feel sad sometimes because I have been here for so long. I feel lonely, but because I work for Palestine and Gaza, I am proud of what I do. We are nearly done. There are a few Indonesian workers here who take a symbolic wage. They all came to work for Palestine. We should finish our work and transfer the hospital’s administration to the Local Ministry of Health in May 2014. We work near the borders and it is unsafe. I do not know how to describe my feeling when I hear the explosions and Israeli airstrikes; however, I am ready to die for Palestine and for the weak and the just. I am going to be very happy when the hospital is completed and ready to serve the people of Gaza and when I return safely to my family in Jakarta.”

The Health Ministry of the Hamas-led government in Gaza and Indonesia’s MER-C signed a memorandum of understanding on 21 November 2011 stipulating the financing of the hospital.

Shadi Abu Herbein, the deputy director of the hospital, explained that the hospital is established on an area that is 3000 square meters and has 100 beds, eight of which are for the intensive care unit, ten for the reception, and four rooms for surgeries.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/48-asia/9146-indonesias-poor-donate-15-million-to-build-a-hospital-in-gaza.

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