The OPEC Fund for International Development has approved an emergency assistance grant of US$200,000 to help provide specialized medical treatment in Austrian hospitals to severely injured Palestinians, who have become victims of the intensified fighting in their homeland.
The grant comes in response to the recent escalation of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which has severely compromised the ability of local medical services to cope with the increasing levels of emergency care.
The relief operation is being coordinated by the Austrian Committee for the Holy Land, a fund-raising organization set up in October 2000. During 2001, with assistance from the Austrian Federal and Provincial Governments, as well as from other donors including the OPEC Fund, the Committee arranged for the hospitalization and successful treatment of 54 critically wounded Palestinians in Austria.
Given the gravity of the current situation in Palestine, this humanitarian operation is continuing during 2002, with the aim of providing care to a similar number of patients. The selection of the most critical cases will be made by the Palestine Ministry of Health in coordination with the hospitals of the West Bank and Gaza, while the necessary arrangements for bringing the patients to Austria will be undertaken by the Embassy of Palestine in Austria and the Committee.
The OPEC Fund grant will be used to help cover the transportation costs of patients and one family member, hospitalization, accommodation and living allowance per person for two months, as well as post-hospital treatment.