Archbishop Suheil Dawani of Jerusalem has launched an urgent appeal for funds after the outpatient department of the diocese’s Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza collapsed.
The hospital’s director, Suhaila Tarazi, reports that nobody was injured when the 120-year-old building collapsed because of environmental stress. The steel beams, roof decking, plaster ceiling, and surrounding walls caved into the room before further collapsing into the basement below.
“If the facility had been occupied during that time, there might have been fatalities,” a statement by the Diocese of Jerusalem said. “Only by the grace of God was no one injured during this serious incident. Due to the sudden and catastrophic nature of this failure, Ahli Hospital patients, staff, and doctors had to be rushed out of the area and temporarily relocated to a safer and more secure place within the hospital’s vicinity.
“Other Outpatient Clinic visitors were redirected to the Physiotherapy Department. Patients have continued to receive treatment from healthcare professionals, though at a slower pace under these crowded and temporary conditions.”
The hospital’s consultant engineer and a construction team have assessed the damage and made recommendations for reconstruction. “Their findings provided useful insights about the deficiencies of the bar joists in the clinic that were manufactured between 1900 and the late 1950s, and still being used well after 1960,” the diocese said. “These were the chief culprits behind the catastrophic failure of the building — but so were the infrequent renovations, the latest occurring in 1993.”
Archbishop Suheil has made an urgent appeal to supporters to contribute toward the estimated $150,000 cost of reconstruction, which “will allow the hospital to continue its charitable ministry with the many needy patients whom its doctors and staff serve each day.”
People wishing to respond to the appeal may do so directly through the Diocese of Jerusalem or a number of its partners around the world:
- Australia: Anglican Board of Mission
- Canada: Companions of Jerusalem
- New Zealand: Anglican Missions Board
- United Kingdom: Jerusalem and Middle East Church Association
- United States: American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
Adapted from ACNS