Generous Bradfordians have helped to raise a staggering £85,000 to help those caught up in the Israeli conflict in a fundraising drive which took just four days to organise.
A ceasefire was called last week but not before at least 158 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed during an eight-day offensive.
Heaton Labour Councillor, Riz Malik (pictured), who is also an Islamic Relief volunteer, decided he needed to do something about the bombings and started organising an event at the Hilton Hotel, held last Sunday.
An Islamic Relief hospital in Gaza, Al Shifaa, was partially bombed when it was caught up in the conflict, but is managing to treat those injured in the bombings. But the same amount of supplies used in a whole month are now being used in just one day.
Coun Malik sold 550 £20 tickets in four days and hoped to raise £20,000. But when he asked for pledges on the night to buy 10 £450 kits of surgical equipment for Al Shifaa Hospital, priced at £4,500, five guests put their hands up.
“I got up last week and decided we had to do something about the devastation in Gaza,” he said.
“I started tweeting and Facebooking people and the general public from Bradford and Leeds got on board, with students, families and the Asian community all joining in.
“Akbars and Aagrah got on board and we auctioned Amir Khan’s boxing gloves and a Man City football shirt. The surgical kits are important because they contain bandages, scalpels and other sterilised equipment. If I was being realistic I thought we would raise £20,000 or maybe £25,000, but to get £85,000 is just phenomenal and truly astonishing.
“We have a number of volunteers who want to go to Gaza to help and despite the damage, our hospital is operational and is seeing some horrific cases.
“We are hearing stories of children coming in with limbs hanging off and dying on stretchers. The facility is not set up to deal with these kind of casualties which makes it even more important to have events put on with people supporting us to raise money for these medical kits.
“It is life saving care that the hospital is providing, because it is not just bombs, but buildings are falling down which causes life threatening injuries.
“For me, the most beautiful thing is that we have a fantastic team of volunteers who come together who helped on the night and gave it a real sense of community.”
Under the terms of the initial ceasefire, Israel has agreed to end all hostilities and targeted killings, while Hamas agreed to stop attacks against Israel and along the Gaza border fence.
Zia Salik, Islamic Relief’s fundraising manager, said: “Bradford is the first city in the UK to respond to his appeal and that is something to be really proud of.
“A phenomenal amount was raised and it was inspiring to see so many people donate, especially during these financially testing times.”