Greetings from Palestine, where the response by the PA to the spread of the COVID-19 virus was swift and, so far, effective. I hope you and your families are managing well, although dealing with the challenges of COVID-19 will continue to define our global community for the foreseeable future. Kindness, sharing and community support goes a long way in these times. We see it here in Palestine and it is heartwarming.
As the response to COVID-19 here on the ground, we have suspended bringing in foreign volunteer medical missions, of which we sponsored 170 last year, treating thousands of sick and injured patients. We do not want to put anyone at risk, most importantly the people of Gaza, who until now have not had a COVID-19 case identified. We also have postponed sending children abroad for free medical care, and have several children still in the USA undergoing treatment. We thank our volunteer chapters and host families for continuing to help these kids during this difficult time. The wellbeing of our beneficiaries and the safety of our staff is our main responsibility and priority, so social distancing is our main focus at the moment.
PCRF is one of the main medical relief organization's on the ground in the Middle East, and our staff continues to work diligently with our partners and beneficiaries to continue to support children in need through our one-time sponsorship programs and many humanitarian projects. The building of the state-of-the-art PICU at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah continues unabated for now.
I'd like to offer a special note of sympathy and respect to our volunteer doctors and nurses in Bergamo, Italy, where several surgery teams have come to Palestine with PCRF from over the past 20 years. I've always enjoyed working with them, and see them now on the front line of fighting this disease. The entire PCRF family wishes them all the courage and strength to continue during these troubling times.
Thank you for your support over the past 29 years and for making PCRF one of the most effective and transparent non-profits in the world.
President & CEO