IFRC completes 27 housing units in Gaza built with Maldivian aid

The International Federation of Red Crescent (IFRC) has completed 27 of the 100 housing units built in Gaza using Maldivian aid, reports Sun Online.

According to an IFRC report on the progress of the project, the 27 housing units – which were completed last month – were handed over to residents of Beit Hanoun on February 15 through the districts municipality and the Palestinian Ministry of Housing.

The 100 units, estimated to provide housing for 700 Palestinians, are being built in areas where Israeli airstrikes destroyed housing, schools, and other infrastructure during the heavy raids in mid-2014.

The ‘Help Gaza’ telethon was launched in the Maldives in response to the destruction caused by last year’s fighting, raising MVR29.4 million (US$1.91 million) before the funds were handed to the IFRC on August 28 last year.

Source: Sun Online


Housing units from Gaza fund to be completed by end of January: Red Crescent

The Maldives Red Crescent has revealed that the housing units built in Gaza using the money collected in the Maldives through the Gaza fund will be completed by the end of January, reports local media.

CNM reported that the houses built by the Red Crescent are to home 100 families, and that they are being built near the rubble of houses destroyed during last year’s conflict with Israel.

US$1.9 million was collected from the Maldives for the Gaza fund through donation boxes set out across the islands as well as the proceeds of a media telethon.

CNM also reported that the funds have allowed for the purchase of medicine from Jordan, which has been handed over to Jordan’s Haashimee Charitable Association to be transferred to Gaza.


Gaza fund donations handed over to Qatar Red Crescent

A donation of MVR 29.4 million (US$1.9 million) to help Gaza has been handed over to the Qatar Red Crescent at an event held on Wednesday (August 27) at the Maldives Broadcasting Commission.

The unprecedented donation drive by Maldivians following the conflict in Gaza culminated in a 33 hour telethon aired across multiple participating broadcasters.

The cheque was received by Qatar Red Crescent President Dr Mohamed Bin Ghanim Al Madida.

Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon, Help Gaza association’s Steering Commitee Chairman and MBC Chairman Ibrahim Umar Manik, and Gaza Fund Maldives representative Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla handed the check over on behalf of the Maldivian people.

The donation is intended to be used to supply food and water and to help Gaza recover from damage sustained after the Israeli Defense Force launched an offensive in retaliation to rocket fire from within the territory.


More than MVR2 million donated to Gaza fund

A total of MVR2.3million (US$149,157) and US$8,089 has been donated to the Gaza fund set up by the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) to provide financial assistance to Palestinians affected by the ongoing Israeli military aggression.

In addition to fund boxes placed in the capital Malé and other islands across the country, according to the AP, dollar and rufiyaa accounts have been opened in the Bank of Maldives and the Islamic Bank of Maldives to collect donations.

Fund raising activities are set to continue till August 17, after which the proceeds will be channeled through the Qatari Red Crescent.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon issued a statement on Thursday (July 24) condemning the Israeli bombing of a United Nations shelter in Beit Hanoun, Palestine.

“It is a cowardly and shameful act on the part of Israel to target a UN shelter whose exact coordinates were given to the Israeli military by the UN. It again underscores the need for the UN Security Council to take urgent and stronger actions against Israel. The international community has a duty to put pressure on Israel to stop the killing and to end the crippling blockade of Gaza,” she was quoted as saying in a foreign ministry statement.

The statement noted that the Maldives co-sponsored a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council last week to establish an International Commission of Inquiry to investigate “atrocities” committed by Israel in the ongoing conflict, which has seen more than 800 people killed.

Following an announcement by the government last week of its intention to boycott Israeli imports, Commissioner General of Customs Ahmed Mohamed told local media on Thursday that the import ban has now been enforced.

“From today, any attempt to import Israeli products will be blocked, and the importer will be given the chance to re-export, failing which the products will be destroyed,” he told Sun Online.


Over MVR300,000 donated to Gaza Fund in two days

Over MVR300,000 (US$19,455) has been donated in the first two days to a “Gaza Fund” set up by the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) to provide financial assistance to Palestinians affected by the ongoing Israeli aggression.

According to the party, a total of MVR317,364.60 and US$1,346 has been collected as of yesterday (July 19).

Fund boxes have been placed across the capital Malé in mosques and other locations, including the artificial beach and the tsunami memorial area, as well as in Vilimalé and Hulhumalé.

The fund was launched by Maldives national football team midfielder Mohamed Arif and former captain Assad Abdul Gani at a ceremony last week.

Adhaalath Party Spokesperson Imran Zahir said at the ceremony that 11 NGOs were participating in the fund raising activities while a bank account for donations would be set up at the Islamic Bank.

Zahir said donations would be counted in the presence of the media and that the proceeds would not be used for management purposes.

Meanwhile, the Qatari Red Crescent offered last Thursday (July 17) to ensure that the funds reach its intended recipients.

In a letter to AP President Sheikh Imran Abdulla, Qatar Red Crescent Secretary General Saleh Bin Ali Al-Muhanadi said that the humanitarian organisation could ensure that the funds reach the people of Gaza in the form of food and medicine.

The arrangements could be made through its extensive relief efforts in Gaza, he said.

“We note that we have had a very fruitful partnership with Adaalath Party in two previous projects; namely Gaza Fund and PK Fund, in which we channelled the funds that were raised in Maldives to the people of Gaza and Pakistan respectively,” the letter read.

In early 2009, 25 Maldivian charities raised US$100,000 for humanitarian projects in Gaza in the wake of an Israeli military offensive in December 2008.

The previous Gaza fund raised MVR1.2 million (US$100,834) between January 9 and February 8, 2009.

Last week, thousands of Maldivians joined a protest march in the capital against the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

Fund raising

Meanwhile, a heated exchange took place on social media last week between Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed and former President Mohamed Nasheed after the latter suggested that it would be “unwise” to donate to the AP fund while details of expenditure out of a “Mosque Fund” set up by the Islamic Ministry remained unclear.

Shaheem responded angrily claiming that details of expenditure were shared with the People’s Majlis and the media, implying that Nasheed had left the country to avoid participating in a rally by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on July 12.

“Nasheed cannot tolerate any action against the Jews in Maldives,” the Islamic Minister tweeted.

In response, the opposition leader accused Shaheem of lying and explained that he had flown overseas on July 7 to seek “emergency” medical treatment for his wife in Singapore, three days before the MDP’s national council passed a resolution to hold a protest march.

MDP MP Eva Abdulla meanwhile tweeted, “[President Nasheed] is with his wife who just underwent a surgery. How much evil do you need to spread, in this holy month?”

According to figures publicised by the Islamic Ministry, a total of MVR21.5 million (US$1.3 million) was donated to the mosque fund, out of which and spent MVR14.9 million (US$966,278) as of July 2013.

The opposition party’s national council organised a protest march after Nasheed – currently the party’s acting president – called on “all human rights defenders” to raise their voices “against the indiscriminate killings in Gaza.”

In a tweet four days later, Nasheed referred to 12 Maldivians leaving for Ceylon to fight in the neighbouring country’s defence in 1943 and suggested that there was “no reason that an MNDF [Maldivian National Defence Force] brigade should not go in defence of Gaza.”

On Friday (July 18), Nasheed contended that the current administration could not “care for Gaza” and asked the MDP to take the initiative to organise “a human shield” for resistance in Gaza.