Glasgow student drives ambulance 3,000 miles to Gaza to assist humanitarian relief efforts

Umran Ali Javaid is currently driving the second-hand vehicle through Europe after setting off from Scotland

A Glasgow student is driving an ambulance from Scotland to Gaza in an effort to assist humanitarian relief efforts in Palestine.

Umran Ali Javaid, a master’s student at Glasgow Caledonian university, bought the second hand ambulance in January and received approval to donate it to assist relief efforts.

Currently making his way through Europe, he will hand the vehicle over to the United Nations’ Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on arriving at the Rafah border in order to “help save innocent civilians and those that are injured”, Middle East Monitor reports. 

Setting off in Glasgow, Umran caught a ferry from Dover to France and is currently travelling across Europe towards Turkey.

Writing on Facebook on Wednesday, Umran explained that he had been driving the ambulance to Gaza for “over 1,500 miles in Europe” through all conditions.

He explained: “Whether its snowing, raining or driving through mountains, the ambulance drives so smoothly and is one of the best I have bought. Been planning this for months and have all the necessary paperwork in order.”

Travelling through the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Switzerland, he plans to catch a ship from Turkey to Egypt’s Al Arish port. Umran said: “The ambulance will hopefully be in Gaza after a few days’ time once I board a ship to Egypt and drive to the Rafah border”.

On arrival at the border, Umran will donate the vehicle to assist in the humanitarian efforts after receiving clearance to enter the city. He said: [The ambulance] will be handed over and donated to the UN agency UNRWA to help save innocent civilians and those that are injured. I am in constant contact with the Egyptian authorities and have approval from [Israel’s] COGAT for the ambulance to enter Gaza”.

Equipped with a portable neonatal ventilator, Umran explained how after hearing news of babies being abandoned in Gaza hospitals following evacuations in December, he “couldn’t get the story out of his mind”.

He told The Herald that the equipment in British ambulances will be beneficial for providing immediate medical support to civilians in Gaza: “During war innocent civilians, especially children, need help and the ambulance can transport those that are injured and infants as it is equipped with a neo-natal ventilator.

“British ambulances are really well-quipped to help patients needing immediate medical support and right now hospitals and aid agencies need a lot of help to assist civilians.”

Explaining that whilst the ambulance will help those in need of medical aid, Umran added that more support is needed in Gaza.  He said: “One ambulance can only help a few hundred people in the coming months which is a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed.”

His Facebook post shared during his travel through Europe read: “Nearly there but wish I could do more! Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout the years.”

Previously receiving a first class honours in international tourism and event management, the master’s student has reportedly donated 40 second hand ambulances to areas in need of aid, including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Burma and most recently, Ukraine.

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Featured image via Facebook