On Wednesday, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) signed eight agreements worth a sum of US $20 million to improve health, water and agricultural projects in the Gaza Strip. The bank was founded in 1975 by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to promote development in member countries. Palestine is one of its registered members.
The IDB’s efforts can go a long way in Gaza, which suffers from dismal health and economic conditions worsened by the Israeli blockade. According to Amnesty International, 95 percent of Gaza water is polluted and unfit for human consumption.
The bank’s biggest agreement was signed with the Charity Committee, amounting to US $5.5 million. The deal aims at rebuilding damaged hospital infrastructure and adding new structures, such as a roof to the al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical complex.
IDB also signed two deals with Islamic Relief. The first amounts to US $4.2 million and includes the construction of two roofs and an electricity line for the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital. The hospital will also be given a host of medical supplies.
The second deal, worth US $1 million, focuses on agriculture. Its goal is to improve farming conditions and help farmers acquire necessary resources such as seeds and water systems.
Qatar’s Red Crescent was the third organization to sign an agreement with the bank. The US $1.6 million deal also focuses on hospital conditions. The Red Crescent will supply the European Gaza Hospital with neurosurgery devices and equipment for the hospital’s primary care centers. The resources were chosen based on a list of needs compiled by Gaza’s health ministry.
The non-governmental Qatar Charity Society sealed a fifth deal with IDB, worth $1 million. Its project will develop sea fishing on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast through the improvement of basic facilities, building of 24 rooms in the Khan Younis port, and providing around 20 fishermen with motors for their boats.
The fifth agreement was signed with the al-Rahma Society for Development for the amount of $1.04 million, designated for the improvement of 1,800 dunums of land cultivated with vegetables, 250 dunums cultivated with grapes, 1,400 dunums of fruit and olive trees, and 500 dunums growing onions.
The bank signed two final deals with the Turkish Red Crescent and the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) for $2.1million each. The Turkish Red Crescent will target agricultural development and the CMWU the sterilization of water systems.