Ibrahim’s Journey to Southern Italy

EMERGENCY-NGO-SicilyAs Ibrahim turned 22, he landed at Pozzallo, southern Italy, along with 244 other people. Just before his medical examination in our Mobile Clinic, we realised it was his birthday, and we gave him a smile and wished him a “happy birthday”. Ibrahim was really touched. Sometimes, even the smallest gesture is enough.

“Thank you, that was the best present I could have wished for.”

Ibrahim was happy because he had managed to cross the desert, pass through Libya, and make it across the sea alive. But also because he had finally found some humanity in the person in front of him.

Over the last year and a half, EMERGENCY staff have been present at landings of migrants and refugees in southern Italy, ready to provide basic care to those who arrive via the central Mediterranean route. Those we help are frequently dehydrated and undernourished, and often bear clear signs of torture and trauma, usually sustained during their journey through ‎Libya. The people who face these journeys leave their home country, head to Libya, and cross the Strait of Sicily. They have no other option: they’re fleeing from war, dictatorships, and poverty. That’s why we will be there to provide assistance for as long as we are needed.

Ebola in Sierra Leone: We’re Not Letting our Guard Down

10974438_10152970522626357_4636441812317428277_oLast Friday, for the first time since the beginning of the epidemic, there were no new confirmed cases of Ebola in the whole Sierra Leone.

The next day, however, saw seven new cases. The country is preparing for the three days of curfew local authorities are setting up to fight the spread on the virus.

In these last few days, Liberia recorded a new Ebola case after going 21 days without any.

Ebola virus is unpredictable. We are not letting our guard down: our staff in Sierra Leone are continuing to fight the virus and treating patients with the highest standards of care.

To help stop the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone, click here to donate now.

EMERGENCY Meets Needs of Growing Refugee Population in Northern Iraq

1973481_10152978320436357_6410024845479067700_oThe situation in Northern Iraq is worsening day by day. Now that the fighting has arrived in Kirkuk, there has been a sizable increase in refugees fleeing the war.

The Arbat refugee camp, a few kilometers from Sulaimaniya, has become increasingly crowded: in a month, it has gone from 3,300 inhabitants to over 16 thousand.
Refugees shelter themselves in tents that do little to protect against the intense cold and the snow, which falls for days on end.

Our two health clinics in the camp, which were opened last summer, are seeing a large number of children, who are the first to suffer in these conditions.
Our team is working to expand and increase the functionality of these clinics, which were intended to be temporary, so that we can offer the care these refugees need and send a message of solidarity.

To help those affected by war receive high standard, free-of-charge care, click here to donate now. 

“Maybe We’ve Done it. Maybe We Really Can Beat this Epidemic.”


A patient in the our Goderich Ebola Treatment Center’s ICU, the only one of its kind in the country.

Gino’s Diary – January 18th, 2015

Maybe we’ve done it. Maybe we really can beat this epidemic. The number of new cases is falling sharply every day, so let’s hope there aren’t any sudden upswings again. Maybe, in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be able to say the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone has come to an end. But what an effort it’s taken! And how many miracles.10392480_10152539837301367_1462823620406932553_n

When the Health Ministry asked us to open an Isolation Center in Lakka for suspected cases back in August, our logistics managers created a 22-bed tent structure in under three weeks. It soon turned into a Treatment Center as well: there were just too many patients, lying on the ground outside the gate, worn out by the illness and waiting for a bed. And so the race began to get everything ready to not only isolate and observe the patients, but also to treat them: ensuring water and electricity supplies, guaranteeing safety procedures and routines, providing air-conditioning to reduce the physical effort of operators wrapped up in really hot protective suits and, at last, beginning to treat the sick. Because even if there’s no specific cure, many lives can still be saved if you can understand something of this serious illness that’s still largely unknown, and if you have the right instruments and pharmaceuticals. So, step 10915304_10152539837076367_4754568819001755211_nby step and with enormous difficulty, we set up a biochemical lab and then a virology lab. The monitors arrived, along with the pumps for intravenous infusions, the ventilators for intubating the most serious patients, and the dialysis machines. In just three months, we managed to set up an intensive care unit like those you can find in the specialized centers in Europe and the USA – which have treated around 30 people, with a mortality rate of less than 30%. Two out of three get cured in rich countries; two out of three die in the poverty-stricken Africa due to lack of treatment.

Things have changed now though. In 10926448_10152539836941367_3950665855741428986_nEMERGENCY’s new, 100-bed center in Goderich, we can provide almost the same level of treatment as in the West, right here in Sierra Leone. We have an excellent Intensive Care Unit, the only one of its kind in the country. Perhaps it won’t be needed for much longer if the Ebola epidemic is (as we hope) drawing to a close. But it will be needed again, the next time, and in the meantime to treat the many seriously ill people who, until yesterday, were incurable.

We’re proud of this because we’ve shown it can be done, even here in Africa. Because we’ve shown, once again, that patients have no specific color; they’re people, with exactly the same rights as us. Free and equal, as we’d all like to be. A few months ago, I said (a bit hastily) ”If I catch Ebola, I’ll stay in Africa.” Now I can firmly say, with peace of mind: I’d 10933783_10152539837246367_5690236597127085684_nseek treatment at EMERGENCY‘s ETC (Ebola Treatment Center).

Over the years, setting up a multitude of hospitals, we’ve often asked ourselves “but what should a hospital be like in Iraq or in the Central African Republic, in Sudan or in Afghanistan? What facilities, equipment and therapies should be made available?” We answered that question in the most simple and humane way: the hospital is “an EMERGENCY hospital”; it’s good for “them” if it’s good for us, for our loved ones, for all of us. Because equality also means sharing the same rights and being part of a common destiny.

—Gino Strada
Freetown, Sierra Leone

To support Gino’s mission of providing the same high quality care found in the West to those suffering from Ebola in Sierra Leone, click here to donate now.

EMERGENCY Provides Care for New Refugees Suffering from Cold in Iraqi Kurdistan

EMERGENCY-ARBAT-01“Many people, especially the children, suffer from the cold along with the other hardships of living in the camp.” Marcello, our Humanitarian Response Program Manager in Iraqi Kurdistan, brings us up to date with the work of our clinic in the Arbat Refugee Camp: “Three hundred families arrived here last Friday. Over 1,500 people in all, from the province of Salah ad Din. They’d been held up for three weeks between two checkpoints in the Kirkuk area: one held by ISIS fighters and one held by Kurdish Peshmerga forces.” When they arrived at the camp, which was covered in a layer of snow from snowfall EMERGENCY-ARBAT-02over the past few days, only some of them were assigned tents and none received blankets, clothes, or heating equipment.

Our Health Center staff set to work straight away, examining 21 patients that same day and another 44 the day after. One of them was 8-year-old Aswaq. He was unconscious and suffering from hypothermia when he came to us. His temperature was 35°C, so we got it stabilized and he was transferred to a hospital accompanied by his mother.

“The winter is getting harder and harder here.”

To help child victims of war like Aswaq receive high standard, free-of-charge care, click here to donate now.