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“Two of our partners’ premises have been wiped out.”


Eman Siam is IM's regional director in the Middle East. In this interview, she talks about the situation in Palestine right now and how IM works to contribute where the need is greatest.

IM has decided to support the organization Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), which provides emergency medical care and primary care. What are their greatest strengths as actors in a war zone?

– Given that the humanitarian corridors are closed, and no external aid is allowed in, it is a great asset that PMRS is already in place. They have a wide reach with two health centers in Jabalya and Gaza City. They also have 17 mobile teams offering services in large parts of Gaza (here you can read more about the work of PMRS Link to the article on PMRS).

– PMRS is one of the reliable civil society organizations that have been active in Gaza for a long time. Already in 2016, IM started a collaboration with them.

Eman Siam, IM’s regional director in the Middle East. Photo: Private

Do you and the other employees at IM’s office have daily contact with PMRS?

– PMRS has its central office in Ramallah in the West Bank, which facilitates our communication and coordination with them. But the day-to-day exchange of information is challenging, especially when it comes to getting quick feedback from their office in Gaza. The team there faces consistent internet disruptions due to destruction of communication towers.

– In addition, their focus on ensuring the safety of health workers, who are often exposed to Israeli attacks, adds to the complexity. Despite these obstacles, PMRS – using its extensive reach and experience in similar crises – maintains its ability to deliver emergency medical assistance, operate hotlines and offer referral services when needed.

Does PMRS have any supplies so they can provide care and perform surgery at this time?

– PMRS has a range of medicines at its disposal and is reaching out to suppliers within Gaza to secure additional resources. However, with the harsh conditions they are experiencing and with the targeted attacks on medical facilities, ambulances and medical personnel, it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide medical care and supplies. Existing stockpiles will not last long, underscoring the urgent need to enable a safe humanitarian corridor.

What is the situation for our other partner organizations in Gaza?

– Unfortunately, two of our partners’ premises in Gaza have been bombed and completely wiped out. Five of their employees lost their lives and the remaining staff have been displaced to various locations. We contact them from time to time to inquire about their safety, but we do not manage to reach them regularly.

– It is disturbing to realize that all the cooperative work that has been built up over the past five years with partners in Gaza has been completely dismantled. Our plans for future efforts based on the progress made are now in tatters.

How does the situation affect our partners on the West Bank?
– The situation on the West Bank is just as bleak. The roads to a number of towns are blocked and checkpoints are set up in many places. Of course, it is difficult to function normally in such a chaotic and inhumane situation. We have 11 partners in the West Bank, some of whom have ongoing programs in Gaza.

– Some of our partners in the West Bank have stopped their operations completely, while others have temporarily suspended their programs and are developing contingency plans. Some have moved their activities to online platforms.

Have any of our regular partners switched to working with humanitarian efforts?
– Changing from long-term development plans to humanitarian efforts does not happen immediately; it requires SIDA’s approval, which can be a time-consuming process. Given the unpredictable nature of conflicts in our region, it is imperative to explore rapid funding mechanisms or procedures that allow for an immediate response to new needs.

Do you want to contribute?
With a gift to our emergency fundraiser, you contribute to IM-supported efforts in Gaza. In Sweden, use this link. If abroad, use this link and mark your donation “Gaza”. Your gift saves lives!

By: Malin Kihlström