'I have no fear': UAE medical volunteers ready to help in Gaza field hospital

UAE medics attend a workshop in Abu Dhabi before travelling to war-torn country

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Medics in Abu Dhabi getting ready to volunteer in war-hit Gaza have been warned to expect to be dealing with severe injuries and trauma when they report for duty at the UAE's field hospital in the enclave.

The 150-bed hospital in the Gaza Strip, which treated its first patients this week, has several departments focused on caring for adults and children.

The facility is part of the Gallant Knight 3 humanitarian operation ordered by President Sheikh Mohamed under which medical teams from the Emirates will provide aid and treatment to Gaza's injured residents.

I am proud to be giving back to the UAE and to my country.
Amal Ibrahim Atiya, nurse

Medical volunteers - mostly nurses - met in Abu Dhabi on Friday for a workshop on what to do and what not to do. They were told to travel light, limit water and food intake and expect to work long hours.

For registered nurse Angham Shaheen, 27, it's a case of going back home to Gaza.

“It was how I was brought up and what my father taught me was the right thing to do. This is why I became a nurse,” she said.

Ms Shaheen, who works at Healthpoint in Abu Dhabi, has nine siblings who are all in Gaza, apart from one brother who lives with her in the UAE.

Volunteers from UAE head to Gaza field hospital

Volunteers from UAE head to  Gaza field hospital

“I am proud to have been given this opportunity and that I have a chance to help my country and Palestinians,” she said.

Organisers did not disclose when the volunteers will be travelling but it is expected to be soon.

Volunteers in Gaza have already treated several patients at the UAE field hospital in the Gaza Strip.

The first two cases treated this week were Palestinians who arrived at the hospital with severe fractures. Both were operated on by an Emirati team of specialist doctors.

Amal Ibrahim Atiya, a Palestinian nurse at Al Ain Hospital who will volunteer in Gaza, said she is proud to be able to give back to her country.

“When Operation Gallant Night was first announced, I signed up. I am a Palestinian who has been living in the UAE and this is a humanitarian initiative – I am proud to be giving back to the UAE and to my country," the mother of six said.

"I have no fear. If I am martyred then it would have been for a good cause. My husband actually encouraged me to go. This is my field and why I became a nurse."

UK nurse Lydia Lowe, 37, who works at Danat Al Emarat, said seeing all the images from Gaza in the media broke her heart.

“I trust that the UAE government and the Ministry of Defence have our safety as a main priority,” she said.

National heroes

Shaikha Al Dhaheri, director of Health Workforce Planning at the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, described the people who have volunteered as "national heroes".

“The volunteers have different healthcare specialities and will provide direct help to the patients in Gaza," Ms Al Dhaheri told The National.

"I’m here representing the Department of Health and we are working closely with our partners at the Red Crescent and the Ministry of Defence, as well as the different health facilities, and I can't tell you how proud each and every one of us is of what can only be described as national heroes.”

The UAE on Sunday sent additional emergency relief aid comprising shelter materials and basic food items. The delivery was made by the Emirates Red Crescent and was distributed to the most affected areas in Gaza.

Noof Al Hosani, head of volunteer training at the Emirates Red Crescent said the safety of the volunteers "has been ensured and every precaution taken”.

“As long as you are living in the UAE, then each of you, regardless of nationality, you are a hero and an Emirati that is representing the UAE,” Ms Al Hosani said.

The UAE has offered humanitarian support on the ground and delivered crucial aid to help the Palestinian people since the war broke out.

On Saturday, 77 patients – accompanied by 43 family members – were evacuated from Gaza and transported to the UAE from El Arish Airport in Egypt.

They are the fourth group of Gazans to arrive in the UAE for treatment in the country's hospitals under a humanitarian initiative aimed at delivering support and solidarity to the Palestinian people during the Israel-Gaza war.

Updated: December 09, 2023, 7:32 AM