Iraqi Refugees

Submitted by Lo Yuk Fai on Thu, 2011-10-13 04:06


Selah, an Iraqi refugee child, and his mother.

Joined Nahoko Takato and visited this child (Selah) and his family at a hospital during my stay in Amman, Jordan. She told me that they arrived in March and were still waiting to get on UNHCR's list. However, the child, who was born with a birth defect, had his conditions worsened in the few days beforehand and required surgery ASAP.

However, as is the case for many Iraqi refugees, his family had no means to settle the cost of the surgery (2,500 Jordanian Dinars, approximately 27,500 Hong Kong Dollars), which the hospital had asked to be paid in full before admitting the child. After a lot of effort from the group of volunteers of whom Nahoko is a part of, they managed to collect part of the fee and convince the hospital to admit the child first.

To make the matter worse, they found out later that the surgery cost did not include the fee for the after surgery recovery procedures.

And his mother has diabetes and requires regular insulin injection, something they cannot afford as well.

It saddened me a lot, so I forsook the trip to the Dead Sea and donated the money instead.

On Monday, we visited Selah and his family again. He’s been discharged from the hospital. An Iraqi volunteer drove us to their home...

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Al-hamdu lillah!


Selah in recovery.

He’s in good spirit and his sweet smile returned.

Still, many difficulties remain for him, this family, and the many Iraqi refugees in Jordan and other nearby countries, who have been fleeing Iraq due to the ever persistent violence since the Gulf War in 1990-91, and made worse by the Iraq War in 2003.

The countries nearby, like Jordan and Syria, are reluctant to pick up the hot coal because of the huge stress it puts on the governments’ resources. And organizations like UNHCR are inadequately funded to tackle the issue – In Jordan during the year of 2009, about 65,000 refugees and asylum seekers were assisted by UNHCR, while estimates put the total number between 450,000 to 500,000.

(So it's not surprising that UNHCR still owes the Hong Kong Government HK$1.2 billion for the handling of the Vietnamese "boat people".)

The situation is of course no better for the Iraqi civilians who remain there. According to SIGIR's latest report to the US Congress, "Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work," and that it is "less safe... than 12 months ago." And if it's dangerous for the US contractors with all the PMC protecting them, imagine what life is for the average Iraqis...

Besides being subjected to recurring violence and kidnappings, there has been a significant rise of congenital deformities in the years after the Iraq wars, and some people suspect that it's due to the weapons used by the coalition forces.

For some of these people, fortunately, there are volunteers like Nahoko, NGO and other charities to help them out. But it’s only so much they can do with their limited resources.

Do not withhold good from those who need it, when you have the ability to help. - Proverbs 3:27

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