Miles Of Smiles 3 Prepares To Head To Gaza
Wednesday April 20, 2011 11:58 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
The “Miles Of Smiles 3” humanitarian convoy is preparing to head to the Gaza Strip as preparations and coordination between several international human rights groups and local Palestinian organizations are underway for the third convoy.
The organizers said that the convoy is meant to “give the children of Gaza life and hope”.
The groups stated that “after the successful trips of Miles of Smiles 1 and 2, and despite the suffering, obstacles and oppression practiced by Israel, the participants of the third convoy are ready and are happy, once again, to put smiles on the faces of the children of Gaza”.
The convoy is sponsored by the Lebanese Prime Minister, Salim Al-Hoss, who also heads the International Campaign to end the Siege on Gaza, Partners for Peace and Development for Palestinians in Europe, and in cooperation with several human rights groups, including the UNRWA and the Red Crescent along with several other humanitarian groups, and individuals.
The convoy expects to depart to Gaza between April 20 and 26. It aims at providing the needed medical aid and medical equipment to the children of Gaza who are heavily impacted by the ongoing Israeli attacks and the ongoing illegal siege on the coastal region.
The convoy will attempt to deliver paramedical equipment, incubators, stretchers, ambulance equipment, three vehicles equipped for transporting persons with special needs, First Aid kits, and urgently needed medical equipment and medications.
The cost of medical equipment and supplies that will be carried by the convoy is nearly two-million UD Dollars.
Convoy organizers have been in direct contact with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry in order to facilitate the entry of the convoy into the Gaza Strip to deliver the humanitarian and medical supplies.
They also coordinated with the Health Ministry in Gaza in order to identify the needed medical supplies and equipment.
In August 2010, Miles of Smiles 2 managed to enter the Gaza Strip carrying urgent supplies and 45 activists. The convoy delivered 46 wheelchair accessible medial vehicles, and different sorts of medical equipment and medications estimated by a total cost of €2 Million.
The first Miles of Smiles convoy made it into Gaza in 2009 and delivered medical supplies, wheelchair and scooters.
Official statistics in the Gaza Strip indicate the nearly %80 of the residents are below poverty line, while unemployment exceeded %65.
More than 170 children died due to the lack of medical supplies and medications as a result of the Israeli siege on the coastal enclave.