CAIRO: Singapore has offered to send a medical team to Egypt, which shares the Rafah border crossing with conflict-hit Gaza, and is preparing to send more medical supplies amid a growing humanitarian crisis in the besieged enclave.
“We are working very closely with our Egyptian counterparts to see how best we can continue to help them,” said Second Foreign Affairs Minister Maliki Osman on Saturday (Nov 11), as he wrapped up a visit to Egypt to hand over donations for humanitarian efforts in Gaza.
“We had good discussions with the different ministers, including exploring the possibility of sending a medical team to Egypt to help with medical support.
“They articulated the need for more medical supplies and I have contacted our community back home to very quickly look at the list of medical supplies that’s required, so that we can help send over here because they did also say that the challenge is to procure some of these medical supplies locally.”
HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES BRACING FOR LONG HAUL
With no end in sight to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, humanitarian agencies in Egypt are bracing for the long haul.
But there has been some respite, with more supply trucks making their way from Egypt’s Rafah crossing into Gaza.
Dr Maliki said: “Egypt plays a very important role being an interlocutor, being the country that’s nearest to Gaza. The current only opening that exists to bring in humanitarian aid to Gaza is really through the Rafah border in Egypt.”
Singapore has been helping – having handed more than S$2 million (US$1.47 million) in cash and over S$400,000 in supplies – and wants to do even more.
“We acknowledge the fact that whenever there is a crisis, wherever it may be, a humanitarian crisis affects Singaporeans and many people around the world,” said Dr Maliki, assuring Singaporeans that much is being done to help the victims in Gaza.
Singapore has voted in favour of a United Nations resolution to protect civilians and uphold legal and humanitarian obligations amid the conflict.
This would allow “humanitarian assistance to get into Gaza as soon as possible, so that the dire situation can be mitigated, and that we can treat the wounded at the same time”, said Dr Maliki.
“So there is still much to be done, and we can continue to support them.”
LOOKING FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES IN THE REGION
Even as Singapore keeps its eye on the conflict, it continues to look for economic opportunities in the region.
“We should continue to see where we can grow because otherwise, if you’re saddled with trying to solve one problem and not allow others to move, then you cannot develop or you cannot take advantage of economic opportunities,” said Dr Maliki.