BEIRUT: The Gathering of Lebanese Doctors launched a campaign in solidarity with Gaza Wednesday, organizing demonstrations in front of ESCWA headquarters in Beirut and announcing a call for medical volunteers to assist in the treatment of residents of the war-torn strip.
“We gathered the Syndicate of Doctors and other concerned parties so we can collect nutritional and medical aid,” the organization's president, Dr. Ghassan Jaafar, told The Daily Star. “Gaza’s hospitals are suffering from extreme shortages in medical equipment and supplies that are necessary for treating the injured and wounded.”
The initiative was launched by the National Initiative Committee to Break the Gaza Siege in cooperation with the Lebanese Gathering of Doctors.
The campaign coincided with the National Initiative's call for volunteers Tuesday, urging doctors, nurses and specialists to travel to Gaza and assist in the treatment of local residents.
The call for volunteers is open indefinitely and the group is accepting applications from specialists in the medical field.
Jaafar said “there is a special need for surgeons, anesthesiologists and psychiatrists.”
According to Jaafar, the campaign has already received calls from 25 volunteers since the announcement was released late Tuesday.
“We are processing their documents and preparing for visa applications to be sent out to the Egyptian embassy,” Jaafar said.
Volunteers will fly to Cairo and will then take a bus to Rafah - a Palestinian city in the southern Gaza strip.
“All volunteers will meet in the European Hospital in Rafah, before they are assigned to different hospitals across Palestine,” said Jaafar, who will be accompanying the volunters.
He said a similar initiative was launched in 2010, when doctors and nurses volunteered to travel to the occupied territories.
“This time around the operation was easier than we expected,” Jaafar said, referring to an almost immediate approval from Egyptian officials to facilitate the transfer of supplies and volunteers from Egypt to the Gaza Strip.
“When we went in 2010, it took us a long time to get Egyptian approval under Hosni Mubarak’s regime,” he added.
Jaafar said that the bus trip would take almost half a day.
“On our last trip in 2010, we left Egypt at 7 a.m. and got to Palestinian territory at around 9 p.m. after being subject to strict inspection from several check points erected along the way” he said.