The Iraqi armed forces announced the launch of the final phase of their offensive to retake the city of Mosul in Iraq.  Since the start of this military operation in October 2016, overhalf a million people  have fled the city. Nearly 200,000 people are still trapped by the fighting  and may flee in the coming days, a situation viewed as highly alarming by Handicap International.
After Haiti was hit by Hurricane Matthew on 4 October 2016, affecting thousands of people, Handicap International’s physiotherapists were called on to provide assistance to the injured. More than 240 people were given rehabilitation care by Handicap International. Carole and Lorestal, two of the hurricane’s victims, tell us about their experiences.
On the 21st of March 2017, Baker was injured in an air attack in the west of Mosul. After having both of his legs amputated, he is now recovering in a hospital on the outskirts of the city. Handicap International is providing him with physiotherapy care and psychosocial support.
Abdel Hamid, 11, is from Mosul, Iraq. On the 19th of March, he was caught in a bomb attack that left him with a fractured hip. Rushed to hospital, he now receives daily physiotherapy care from a Handicap International team.
In April 2017, Ali and his family were used as human shields in Mosul. Caught in a bombing, Ali was severely injured and his two parents and brother were killed. The young boy is currently being treated at a hospital located south of Mosul. His aunt and uncle are taking care of him and a physiotherapist from Handicap International is providing them with advice on how to ease and speed Ali’s recovery.
Last April, Baraa caugt fire and now suffers from burns over half of his body. Since then, the 9-year-old boy has been recovering from his injuries in Qayyarah hospital (south of Mosul), where he receives rehabilitation care from one of Handicap International’s physiotherapists.
Last April, Hameed was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) and his leg had to be amputated. For the last few weeks, he has been recovering from his injuries in Qayyarah hospital. Since his amputation, one of Handicap International’s physiotherapists has been helping him adapt to his new condition.
Mawada, 6, has cerebral palsy. Last November, she and her family fled Mosul and took refuge in Khazer camp. Handicap International have given the little girl a walking frame and the organisation provided her with physiotherapy sessions.
When Mohammad, Handicap International’s physiotherapist, arrives outside Adnan’s tent, the old man warmly invites him inside. “I was waiting for you!” he says with a smile as Mohammad sits beside him. “Handicap International is the only organisation that has helped me since I arrived. You’re always welcome in my home,” he adds with emotion. Mohammad smiles and asks how Adnan, who is still recovering from surgery, is feeling today. Ten days ago, his health took a turn for the worse, and doctors had to amputate his left leg.
Last year, Jihan was severely burned when she was hit by a bombing in Mosul. A month ago, she fled the city with her family and took refuge in Hasansham camp, in Iraqi Kurdistan. One of Handicap International’s teams met with Jihan and suggested she take part in a physiotherapy session to learn some daily exercises, in order to ease her condition.
In January 2017, Sawsan and her family were injured in an air attack as they were fleeing the fighting in Mosul. They now live in Khazer, one of the largest camps for displaced people from Iraq. Since she arrived, Handicap International has provided Sawsan with physiotherapy sessions and psychological support. The organisation is assisting other members of her family too, also injured in the attack.
Nearly a month ago, Sinat’s family arrived in Khazer camp, where some 30,000 people who have fled Mosul and its surroundings now live. Sinat suffers from cerebral palsy and her parents are worried about her health. She was recently visited by one of Handicap International’s teams, who immediately began providing her with physiotherapy care.
“Almost seven months after the start of the military operation to recapture the city of Mosul, more than 12,000 civilians have been injured in the assault or as they tried to escape the fighting,” explains Maud Bellon, Handicap International’s field coordinator for the Mosul Emergency Response. “More than half come from the western part of the city, where armed forces are still conducting military operations.”
820,000 children in South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and Ethiopia are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition in 2017. Handicap International’s pioneering treatment methods will help to ensure that they recover and thrive.
Across East Africa, hundreds of thousands of people are leaving their homes in search of food and security. With so many people on the move and in need of assistance, Handicap international is concerned that some people may fall through the cracks. Our teams in Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somaliland are determined not to let this happen.