Palestinian volunteers team arrives to assist in flood relief efforts

Zubair Qureshi

Members of the Rapid Response and Rescue team from the State of P alestine arrived in Pakistan on Saturday for a humanitarian and relief mission to support the efforts of the Pakistani government in the ongoing relief and rehabilitation operation in the areas devastated by floods. Minister for Human Rights Riaz Hussain Pirzada and Director for Middle East (ME) Mansoor Abbas Shah along with the senior officials received the Palestinian contingent at the Islamabad International Airport Saturday morning.

The team that consists of medics, members of civil defence, technicians and support staff will participate in the relief operation in districts of Dera Ismail Khan (DIK) and Tank in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Later in the day, Ambassador of Palestine Ahmed Jawad Rabei organized a a press briefing at the Embassy and introduced the 27-member contingent to the media persons and reaffirmed strong, multi-dimensional and close ties with Pakistan.

The embassy of Palestine has also donated medicines, food, dry fruit, milk and other nutritious items especially for the health of the women and the children who are facing the worst water catastrophe in Pakistan’s history.

The Palestinian ambassador said his government and the people highly valued relations with Pakistan. This is why when the news of the floods playing havoc in Pakistan was aired Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced launching of a donation campaign titled “In loyalty to Pakistan, Jerusalem is with you” for the victims of Pakistan’s floods through the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs.

In Friday sermons too, special prayers were offered for the flood affected people of Pakistan and donations came both in cash and kind, he said.

President Mahmoud Abbas also issued instructions to send a Palestinian medical mission formed by the Ministry of Health, the Palestinian Red Crescent and the Civil Defence to provide all possible assistance to the affected people and contribute to rescuing and providing the necessary treatment, he said.

Director General Palestinian International Cooperation Agency (PICA) Imad Al-Zuhairi while speaking on behalf of the volunteers’ team said it was an honour to serve the Pakistani people trapped by water. Our doctors have the experience of working trauma and emergencies he said adding they would handle the flood-affected people in a better way.

“Since we have years of experience of living under occupation and facing unusual conditions we can understand what it means to a family when its home is destroyed,” he said. To a question, he said the Palestinian volunteers were in Pakistan for nine days during the first phase of the relief operation and will see later if the stay could be extended or not.Additional Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Javed Umrani said Pakistani nation highly appreciated the goodwill gesture of the Palestinian brothers and sisters. Almost one-third of Pakistan is inundated and the people are facing the worst civic, infrastructure, health and food security challenges there, he said.


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