The Qatar Red Crescent (QRC) says it has received one of its largest individual donations for its Syrian relief efforts to date from one of the Gulf state’s former government ministers.
Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, who served as Interior Minister between 1972 and 1989, pledged QR1 million to improve medical care in the war-torn country.
An existing outpatient center, serving a growing population of approximately 70,000, will be turned into a primary health care facility.
It will offer a range of medical services including pediatric care, internal medicine, gynecology and obstetrics, dentistry, dermatology, general surgery, orthopedics and a laboratory.
The QRC said in Arabic that it expects the QR1 million donation to be sufficient to rebuild the center and operate it for seven months.
However, it’s only one of 17 health care centers in Syria supported by the QRC at a cost of QR18 million annually, the charitable organization added.
Medical centers targeted
The war in Syria has destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure since hostilities broke out in 2011. However, there are signs that Syria’s hospitals and clinics have been especially hard hit.
Last month, Amnesty International said Russian and Syrian government forces “appeared to have deliberately and systematically targeted hospitals and other medical facilities.”
In a report, Tirana Hassan – Amnesty’s crisis response director – said:
“The latest string of attacks on health facilities north of Aleppo appears to be part of a pattern of attacks on medics and hospitals, a strategy that has destroyed scores of medical facilities and killed hundreds of doctors and nurses since the start of the conflict.”
The QRC and its staff have also come under fire. Its hospital in Tell Abyad, on the Turkish border, and clinic in Zorba have been bombed. Additionally, a QRC surgeon in the Tabaka area and an observer on a vaccination campaign in Idlib have been killed.
In recent years, Qatar residents, charities and the government have helped individuals Syrians as well as opposition forces in various ways, including donating millions of dollars in humanitarian aid.
In January, Eid Charity announced that a Qatari man had offered to take care of the expenses of 1,000 orphans living inside Syria to the tune of some QR150,000 a month.
Meanwhile, Qatar has also provided military, financial and diplomatic support to rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and allowed more than 25,000 Syrians to move to Qatar since 2011.