BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — The Brunei government has launched a humanitarian fund to assist Palestinians in the Gaza Strip following Israeli airstrikes that killed 253 people including 66 children.

The fund was established on Wednesday after weeks of global outcry over Israel’s bombing of Gaza and police attacks against protestors in Jerusalem, where more than 300 people were wounded in the days leading up to Eid Al-Fitr.

Brunei’s Minister of of Culture, Youth and Sports said the government will look into working with UNRWA, the UN agency that supports relief efforts for Palestinian refugees, to channel aid to people in Gaza and the West Bank.

“This consideration takes into account the fact that UNRWA has offices in Gaza and West Bank,” YB Dato Hj Aminuddin said during a meeting of the committee for the Palestinian Humanitarian Fund, of which he is a co-advisor.

“The distribution of donations to all Palestinians and the implementation of projects can be monitored and audited by UNRWA.”

Brunei previously worked with UNRWA to provide aid to Palestinians in 2009 and 2012, raising $802,184 and $797,171 respectively.

Israel’s 11-day bombardment of the densely populated strip damaged or destroyed nearly 17,000 residential and commercial units, ruining critical infrastructure including roads, hospitals and refugee camps.

The United Nations said about 800,000 people in Gaza do not have regular access to clean water as nearly 50 percent of the water network was damaged in the bombing, and that healthcare facilities were at risk of being overwhelmed due to thousands of injuries.

Although Israel and Hamas, the group that governs Gaza, agreed to a fragile ceasefire on May 21, Palestinian officials said it would cost some US$100 million to rebuild the damage to industry, power and agriculture in the already impoverished territory struggling under a devastating 14-year blockade.

How to donate

Members of the public can donate to the Palestinian Humanitarian Fund from May 26 to August 23.

Donations can be made via SMS by texting “BANTU”, followed by the amount you wish to donate (e.g. BANTU20) to 38111 for DST and Progresif subscribers or 39999 for imagine users.

The public can also make donations via bank transfer to the following BIBD account: Tabung Kemanusiaan Palestin 2021 under the account number 00-001-01-0072082.

Donation boxes will also be placed at banks, commercial buildings and other public spaces throughout Brunei.

NGOs will also be allowed to hold activities to raise money for the humanitarian fund.