Arizona group donating tens of millions of {dollars} value of medical assist to civilians caught in Israel-Hamas battle

Thousands and thousands of {dollars} value of medical provides sit tucked away in a
warehouse on W. 14th Road in Tempe. Amongst them are eight massive pallets
full of medical aid provides ready to be shipped to the Center

This warehouse is the Phoenix distribution middle for Undertaking
C.U.R.E., a company that was based in 1987 in Colorado to
deal with the staggering scarcity of medical sources all over the world.
Its most up-to-date venture: sending medical provides that would present
emergency aid to civilians in the midst of the Israeli-Hamas

Solar Houdeshell, the director of operations on the Phoenix location,
says she desires to assist as many civilians affected by the struggle as
potential, Israeli or Palestinian.

“We’re not a political group. We need to assist everyone,”
Houdeshell mentioned. “The place you had been born shouldn’t have an effect on whether or not you reside
or die. Simply since you had been born in Africa, simply since you had been born
in Gaza doesn’t imply you shouldn’t get therapy. I imagine well being care
is a human proper.”

She and the Undertaking C.U.R.E volunteers began their newest venture
on Monday, Oct. 16; they do not know when it’s going to finish.

Normally, the group ships medical provides abroad on a ship.
It usually takes three to 6 months for provides to achieve their
vacation spot, which might be wherever from Panama to India, Turkey or,
extra regularly, Africa. For the reason that Center East battle is a right away
emergency, Houdeshell says they’re counting on business plane, which
presents a number of challenges.

She says they needed to redo the pallets of medical provides a number of instances due to present plane area and rules.

“At first they needed 10 pallets. However they mentioned no, we are able to solely match
eight. So we break down and construct once more as a result of we need to ship as a lot
aid as potential,” Houdeshell mentioned. “Then they are saying there’s a
regulation that the pallet needs to be good. So we break it down and
redo the proper form.”

Houdeshell is patiently ready for a name from an airline that has
discovered room on a flight for the provides. She says this might come at any

“It might be any day. I do not know. It might be at the moment. They might
ask me Sunday to come back in and ship it out. Or it might keep there like a
month. No person is aware of at this level.”

Docs With out Borders, a nonprofit group that delivers
emergency medical assist to individuals in disaster in additional than 70 international locations, has
just lately printed statements saying its actions in Gaza are
at the moment restricted.

“Insecurity and unpredictable bombardments have made it extraordinarily
tough to ship assist and supply well being care,” a press release on the
group’s official web site said. “MSF is making ready medical and
humanitarian provides to be despatched to Gaza as quickly as secure entry is
assured. We may even ship emergency groups, if the safety of
humanitarian and well being staff could be ensured. .”

President Joe Biden posted a public assertion on Oct. 21 that the
first convoy of humanitarian help had crossed the border into Gaza
to assist civilians in want.

“The US stays dedicated to making sure that civilians in
Gaza will proceed to have entry to meals, water, medical care, and
different help, with out diversion by Hamas,” the press launch mentioned.
“We’ll proceed to work with all events to maintain the Rafah crossing in
operation to allow the continued motion of assist that’s crucial to
the welfare of the individuals of Gaza.”

Houdeshell is hoping now that the Egypt-Gaza border will stay open
for humanitarian aid and supply a dependable pathway for provides to
attain the individuals in Gaza.

This isn’t the primary time Houdeshell has handled emergency disaster
aid. The group additionally despatched assist to Ukraine when the Russian
invasion began in 2022, the identical 12 months that Houdeshell joined the
group. She says it was certainly one of her proudest moments since becoming a member of
Undertaking C.U.R.E.

“We had this child crib upstairs, made out of metallic and it seems to be like a
cage… the recipient despatched us a video of this pediatric unit with this
cage-looking crib that I’d at all times make enjoyable of. They usually appeared so
blissful,” Houdeshell mentioned. “Within the video you’ll be able to inform how grateful they
are to have the gear. Tools that I had been making enjoyable of the
complete time.”

The 2-story warehouse is separated into completely different sections for
medical provides. Giant gear, reminiscent of intensive-care unit beds and
electrical wheelchairs, is saved in an upstairs space. The downstairs space
is the place they maintain biomedical gear, surgical devices and
pallets prepared for cargo.

“We now have sufficient gear right here to construct a hospital. Possibly even two,” Houdeshall mentioned.

Volunteers choose up medical provides from donors, normally hospitals or
group facilities, then ship all the pieces to the warehouse. From
there, volunteers unload the provides, kind via and arrange them,
mark them of their stock and label the gadgets based mostly on which nation
they’ll go to. Some gear wants upkeep earlier than it’s despatched out; a
workforce of engineers is offered to come back in and repair it.

Houdeshell oversees all of it, with the assistance of 4 Arizona State
College interns. She says that’s not sufficient for all the work they
do and he or she needs she had extra assist.

“Proper now I’ve 4 (interns) and I’ve room for as much as 10,”
Houdeshell says. “I need to encourage faculty college students, particularly these
in pre-health, you could see this and really feel this so once you go to
medical college or grow to be a well being care skilled you’ll know the
significance of this.”

Mia Copeland, an intern at Undertaking C.U.R.E. and sophomore at ASU
learning molecular biology, says she’s been with the group for
over a 12 months.

“What’s loopy is I really feel like I’m in it. This can be a real-time emergency
and I really feel like we’re in it doing one thing to assist those that want it.”

Copeland says interning at Undertaking C.U.R.E. has made her replicate on the quantity of medical waste popping out of America.

“Hospitals aren’t giving this to us out of the goodness of their
coronary heart. Every part right here would have been within the trash,” Copeland says.
“One piece of apparatus would cost your insurance coverage hundreds of {dollars}
… and all this may be repurposed in direction of international locations the place there may be so
a lot want on the market. So why are we throwing it out?”