UAE floating hospital hosts entertainment event for Gaza children

Activities organised to boost psychological and social well-being of young ones exposed to the war with Israel

Palestinian children take part in fun events on the UAE hospital ship at Al Arish in northern Egypt. Wam
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Staff at the UAE's floating hospital docked at the city of Al Arish in northern Egypt organised a day of fun activities for the children of Gaza on Friday.

It was aimed at improving their psychological and social well-being using arts and entertainment, while creating a safe space for the children to express themselves, state news agency Wam reported.

Mona Talib Ahmed, a nurse at the hospital, said competitions – based around drawing, henna and the Quran – helped “ease their distress”, amid the Israeli strikes and ground offensive in the Palestinian enclave.

Hospital staff host weekly events to keep the children entertained, she said.

The 100-bed floating hospital was set up as part of the UAE's Gallant Knight 3 campaign, to provide a lifeline to the people of Gaza.

The ship, which sailed from Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi, is fitted with operating theatres, intensive care units, radiology facilities, a laboratory, a pharmacy and medical warehouses.

It also has an evacuation aircraft and boat, together with fully equipped ambulances to transport patients.

According to the UN children's fund, the levels of stress and pressure found in children in Gaza is higher than seen in most other conflicts.

Adele Khodr, Unicef Middle East and North Africa regional director, wrote in The National this year that “the intensity and the frequency of what we have seen in Gaza in terms of the mental stress on children and the psychological pressure is something we have rarely seen”.

“There is nowhere safe in Gaza,” she said.

Many children in Gaza have been forced to keep moving to avoid bombing. They “remain sort of stuck in a constant cycle of being exposed to violence and fear”.

The war has also impacted the education of thousands of children, with a group of UN experts calling the crisis “scholasticide”. The systematic destruction of educational facilities in the strip, means that “at least 625,000 students have no access to education”, said the experts.

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Updated: June 07, 2024, 5:13 PM