“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.
“Since they first started staying here, the heads of the families have been arranging their assigned tents to make them more comfortable. Some are even turning their spaces into areas for business ventures. They are trying to return to the normal life that they were forced to leave behind due to the war.” Marina updates us on the newly opened Qoratu IDP camp in northern Iraq near Kalar where our new clinic has also begun operations. “At the moment there are 50 families, but another 200 are already expected to arrive from the Kulajo area in the next few days. Many of the patients who come to our health clinic here in the camp recognize us: they are the same people that we looked after in with our mobile clinic in the Salah-Aga area. By coordinating our actions, we are able to offer continuity in the treatment they receive, which is a step towards them reacquiring the rights that were taken from them by war.”
To help deliver free, high standard care to refugees in Iraq and people affected by conflict all around the world
What does it mean to spend your entire life not knowing what it means to live in peace? We have asked ourselves this many times in Afghanistan and here in Iraq, where every day we see the consequences of endless conflict and continued wars. Sometimes, however, this question seems to take on a physical, tangible form: it becomes incarnate in the wounded bodies of patients that we meet again even after many years.
A few days ago we went with the mobile clinic to Qoratu, a village in northern Iraq where about 600 Iraqi refugees live in order to escape the fighting. Among them is Ahmed, a 35-year-old man who fled from his home in the Baghdad area two months ago after the town he lived in was attacked by the ISIS. It was not his first encounter with war: in 2003 a bullet struck him in the thigh and since then Ahmed has had a prosthesis.
Ahmed broke his prosthesis while fleeing. When he came to ask us for help, he showed us a sheet of paper that immediately seemed very familiar. It did not take us long to recognize it: it was a discharge paper issued by our hospital in Sulaimaniya, where they had taken care of him more than 10 years ago.
In a few days Ahmed will return to Sulaimaniya to replace his prosthesis.
As he was leaving after his examination, he thanked us, rewarding us with a smile.
To help more civilian casualties of war like Ahmed receive continued high standard treatment free of charge, click here to donate now.
In Iraqi-Kurdistan, we’re currently waiting for the new refugee camps to be opened in Qoratu and Tazade where we will be treating the camps’ inhabitants at our two new health clinics. In the meantime, our staff are traveling around in our new mobile health clinic to provide treatment for the Iraqi refugees living in the Salah-Aga area (about 200 families) and in the village of Qoratu (roughly 100 families). The mobile clinic was donated by the World Health Organization to the local health authorities, who tasked EMERGENCY with running the clinic.
In Iraq, the lack of medical access for refugees continues to be a humanitarian emergency. More than two and a half million refugees are in the country because of the fighting. The hospital system is unable to guarantee even the minimum conditions of hygiene, water availability, and water quality. Committed to helping address this crisis, we continue to treat refugees and IDPs at our two health clinics in the Arbat camp.
To help deliver free, high standard care to refugees in Iraq and people affected by conflict all around the world, click here to donate now.