AMMAN: Palestinian hospitals in Jerusalem have raised almost $3 million out of the $7 million needed to confront the coronavirus emergency.
The money has come from the governments of Germany and Norway, charities and other institutions.
Dr. Walid Nammour, executive director of the Jerusalem Hospital Network, said Germany had donated €1.5 million ($1.64 million) that would go directly to the three hospitals dealing with coronavirus cases: Makassed, St. Joseph and Augusta Victoria.
“We have also received $500,000 for Augusta Victoria from the Norwegian government, $300,000 from the Bethlehem 2000 Foundation in Chile, $300,000 from the Welfare Association, $150,000 from the Bank of Palestine, $100,000 from the Palestine Investment Fund, $50,000 from Medical Aid for Palestine in the UK, and other smaller grants from individuals and organizations,” he told Arab News.
Nammour said that the €9.5 million granted by the EU was not meant to deal directly with emergency needs, it was to help settle unpaid bills.
“Since 2012 the US and the EU had been helping cover the bills for treating patients from all over Palestine but since the Trump administration reneged on this commitment, we have had $75 million of unpaid bills for patients we have treated,” he added.
Jerusalem Affairs Minister Fadi Hidmi, said the EU’s contribution was flexible and was aimed at helping current emergency and non-emergency issues related to coronavirus.
Help for hospitals is also coming from local businesses. Ahmad Budeiri, the coordinator of the Jerusalem Alliance to Deal with Coronavirus, said that hotels were offering their premises during the crisis.
“Musa Jarjui of the Christmas Hotel has made the entire hotel available to medical staff, as has the Capital Hotel which contributed 20 rooms ... St. George’s has made its entire hospital available for quarantine needs,” he told Arab News.
Dr. Jamil Kousa, director of St. Joseph’s, welcomed the grants and expressed hope that funds would be available to purchase much-needed ventilators.
“St. Joseph has 34 beds available for coronavirus patients and has nine ventilators,” he told Arab News. “We are bracing ourselves for a large increase in patients coming within the next week.”