‘One body’: Gaza launches blood donations after deadly earthquake

Blood donation campaign in Gaza aims to help those in Turkey and Syria after powerful earthquakes.

Gaza City – People in Gaza are donating blood to help those injured in the earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria.

Naglaa al-Ghalayini, the coordinator from the Al-Amal foundation for orphans, told Al Jazeera the campaign is part of a solidarity initiative carried out by Palestinian volunteers after the deadly quakes killed and wounded tens of thousands of people last week.

“This event is to consolidate the idea that the Arab world and the Islamic world are one world – one body – and what hurts Syria and Turkey hurts Gaza and Palestine,” said al-Ghalayini.

“It is true that we in Gaza do not have the equipment or capabilities that can be provided to the earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey or the material capabilities, but we do have our blood to offer to our brothers in Turkey and Syria in loyalty to all the people who supported the Palestinian cause and supported Gaza.”

Al-Ghalayini offered condolences to the families of the victims in Turkey and Syria, and wished a speedy recovery for the injured.

A man donating blood
Subhi Quta, a participant in the blood donation campaign in Gaza [Abdelhakim Abu Riash/Al Jazeera]

‘Sad and shocked’

Subhi Quta, 33, told Al Jazeera he came to donate blood as soon as he heard about the campaign, considering it an opportunity to help after the disaster in Syria and Turkey.

“We all felt sad and shocked by what happened after the earthquake. In previous wars on Gaza, we witnessed scenes of buildings collapsing and bodies being pulled out from under the rubble. But the tragedy in Turkey and Syria is exponentially catastrophic,” said Quta.

The same opinion was shared by Sohaib Shehadeh, 43.

“If I could do more than that, I would not hesitate. And if the door of volunteering was opened to go and help remove the rubble and help the homeless families, I would definitely participate,” Shehadeh said.

“I lost my house in an Israeli bombing years ago and my brother, uncle and his family were killed in an Israeli bombing of their home. The bitterness of homelessness and loss is one, whether it is natural or man-made disasters.”

Nearly 26 million people have been affected since the earthquakes devastated southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria on February 6.

The death toll from the earthquakes has soared past 33,000 as rescue efforts continue.

Medical workers check blood units
Medical workers prepare donated blood units for transfer to Turkey [Abdelhakim Abu Riash/Al Jazeera]
Source: Al Jazeera