There is worrying news from Gaza. On Friday 4th the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported five deaths and 98 new cases of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours bringing the number of active cases to 596. The latest figure (@8th Aug), as reported in The Independent, was over 1,000 active cases detected despite limited testing capacity. The first cases of community transmission were noted just two weeks ago and given the densely-populated refugee camps and villages housing many vulnerable people the fear is that there will be a rapid spread resultig in many tragic deaths.
Within this context, the Ahli Arab Hospital, which is not one of the two designated Covid hospitals, continues to witness to Christ’s love by treating the local children and their families and providing surgical and obstetrical services at no charge. The general director, Suhaila Tarazi has highlighted the specific issues the hospital is currently facing at this time:
- Travel restrictions in place because of the lockdown have led to a staff shortage, putting pressure on staff who live near the hospital to work extended shifts.
- The Ministry of Health (MoH) has closed five public hospitals, and the infection rate among public healthcare workers is high.
- At the request of the MoH, Ahli has established a new diabetic clinic on its campus to fill the gap left by the closure of public hospitals.
Please remember the people of Gaza and the hospital staff in your prayers. Below is a suggested prayer from the American Friends of the Holy Land which you may find helpful for personal prayer or to share with your church family at this time.
You can donate to support the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East as they support their communities during the pandemic via the JMECA Covid-19 page on CAF Donate
A Prayer for Gaza during the Covid-19 Pandemic
God of peace, whose beloved Son was born not far to the East in Bethlehem, we pray for the people of Gaza that they may be assured of your unfailing love in the midst of these uncertain and perilous times.
Grant them freedom from fear and give them hope for a future safe from harm and disease. In the midst of their sorrow and worry, shelter them from despair.
For all who are fearful for the safety of their loved ones as the pandemic threats to overwhelm them, we pray that they find peace.
For all who are sick, we pray they find healing.
For all who have died, we pray they find rest. For all who grieve, we pray they find comfort.
For all doctors, nurses, and other health workers who share their skills unselfishly, we pray that you keep them under your mercy and give them strength as they care for others.
For leaders on all sides, we pray for a renewed will to lay down arms, for the strength to put the grievances and wrongs suffered by their people to rest, and for the conviction to embrace a path of reconciliation and peace that preserves the rights and dignity of all of your children.
God of justice, help us to remember there is no border that can separate us from your great love and protection, no stone that can sound the well of your deep mercy.
Bless and protect our sisters and brothers in Gaza, especially your servants at Ahli Arab Hospital whose loving and tender care for all of their neighbors reveals the face of Christ.
With earnest hope that the threat of a widespread pandemic will pass by your children in Gaza, we ask all this in the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem