As 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.
“I was shocked,” said Khalid, one of our mediators in Sicily. “At just 2 years of age, Aida had already spent a month in a prison in Libya, and had crossed the Strait of Sicily in a rubber boat.”
In the last two days, over 1,500 people have come ashore in Pozzallo and Augusta, Sicily. Among them was a young Gambian couple who, after spending the past 6 months in Libya, boarded a rubber boat with their daughter, Aida. They headed for Italy, following the central Mediterranean route. Khalid and our other colleagues are there, providing social-medical assistance during the landings from EMERGENCY’s two Mobile Clinics.
Listen to one of our volunteers, Diana C. Silverman, Ph.D., talk about her new book, Stellare: Learning Italian with Cultural Stars. All proceeds from the book are donated to EMERGENCY to support our work.
EMERGENCY USA Board President Anna Gilmore recently attended the EMERGENCY 2014 International Conference in Milan. Here is her report back about where we are and where we are going in Sudan and Italy:
The presentation on the Sudan program included showing the May 2014 60 Minutes segment to attendees, complete with Italian subtitles.
The presentation was lovely in that it included two clinicians, a doctor and nurse, who were Sudanese and who shared their perspective and the gratefulness for the program.
The mobile clinics and “bricks and mortar” medical facilities continue offering services to migrants and to anyone who needs access to care. The most recent updates: In 2013, services were expanded to include a location in Siracuse, Sicily for migrants coming to shore and to provide care for prostitutes working in Caserta province of Southern Italy.
This September EMERGENCY‘s annual International Conference will be held in Milan, Italy– the city where EMERGENCY was born 20 years ago!
The conference will take place September 12th to 14th, and will be held at the Mediolanum Forum in Assago on Via Giuseppe di Vittorio. The closest metro station is Assago Forum Station on Metro Line 2 (the green line).
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Friday, September 12th 2:30 pm Opening ceremony 7:00 pm Dinner 9:30 pm Birthday party (only for volunteers)
Saturday, September 13th 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Updates from projects 1:00 pm Lunch 3:00 pm – 6:30 pm Updates from projects 6:45 pm Dinner 9:30 pm Music concert (open to the public)
Sunday, September 14th 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Closing ceremony
If you are interested in attending, please email firstname.lastname@example.org before September 4th. Registration is required.