18 Nov 2015

After almost 7 months of diplomatic and bureaucratic wrangling, the Al-Imdaad Foundation’s Jordanian office has successfully launched the first of its kind humanitarian aid convoy from Jordan to the Gaza strip. The convoy will help address the dire conditions many Gazans find themselves facing with poverty and unemployment having risen to their highest recorded levels. Similar convoys have taken place in the past but ever since the closing of the Rafah crossing with Egypt no new avenue has been available. It is hoped that this convoy will bring in a new era of humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza.

The convoy departed from the Jordanian capital Amman in two phases with 7 trucks leaving on Sunday November 8th and a further 8 trucks leaving on Tuesday November 10th 2015. A total of 300 tons of humanitarian aid was sent off with the convoy. This aid will help the people of Gaza to overcome the hunger and difficulty that has become a way of life. The project was overseen by the Al-Imdaad Foundation’s Jordanian offices in close cooperation with the charity wing of the Jordanian government, the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation. It involved a three segmented process whereby the goods had to be offloaded and reloaded at three borders. As such it was a logistical nightmare involving three transportation companies but eventually with the help of a dedicated negotiating team all the required permits were cleared and the aid was on its way. In the words of the Al-Imdaad Foundation’s country director in Jordan, Dr Nizar Al-Sheikh, “Jordan has now become the trachea or windpipe of Gaza as the last remaining corridor for the entry of humanitarian aid.” Dr Nizar went on to explain the emotion that characterised the send-off of the convoy saying that “for a long time I have not cried, but when the convoy left I began to cry”. Dr Zakaria Al-Sheikh, a trustee member of Al-Imdaad Jordan and a member of the Jordanian parliament handled a good deal of the diplomatic wrangling necessary for the project to come about. He described the intense joy he felt at the launch of the convoy which was the culmination of 7 months of back and forth negotiations. Yacoob Vahed, CEO of the Al-Imdaad Foundation who was also in Jordan for the launch described the occasion as “a historic moment in the foundation’s history”. Working together with the official Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation raises the profile of Al-Imdaad in Jordan and opens up the way for many more future partnerships in the region. The event was a media storm in Jordan according to Dr Zakaria Al-Sheikh with coverage on official government channels. Already with the launch of this convoy the way has been opened up for other projects in the region. Dr Nizar Al-Sheikh mentioned that a new project is in planning to launch a convoy of mobile homes that would be of great value to the people of Gaza many of whom remain homeless to this day. Other projects including a winter warmth campaign are also being planned. The Al-Imdaad Foundation hopes that this heralds the beginning of an important humanitarian corridor opening up for the people of the region at a time when they need it most.
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