Northern Iraq, an area known as Iraqi Kurdistan, whose borders are not drawn on any map: they are drawn, instead, by an invisible and menacing boundary of landmines. Iraqi Kurds, living in this area, live with ten million landmines planted by Saddam Hussein during the Iraq-Iran war. This invisible army continues to kill. Here, in 1995,EMERGENCY refurbished and reopened a hospital in the village of Choman, at the border with Iran.
In two cities under the control of two different factions at war with each other - Sulaimaniya and in Erbil – EMERGENCYopened two Surgical Centres in 1996 and in 1998. The Centres were opened to provide high quality free-of-charge medical assistance to the victims of war and landmines. Both these facilities were fitted with specialized Burns and Spinal Units.
In 1998, EMERGENCY opened a Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Centre for amputees in Sulaimaniya. It provides lower and upper limb prostheses, physical rehabilitation, vocational training and assistance to amputees, as well as assistance with setting up professional cooperative workshops in their villages.
EMERGENCY further created a network of 22 First Aid Posts throughout the country to guarantee fast treatment of patients and their transfer to its hospital, when necessary.In April 2005, having ensured that the programme was completely autonomous, EMERGENCY handed over the Erbil and Sulaimaniya Surgical Centres and First Aid Posts to local authorities, which are now integrated into Iraq’s national health system.
Since 1995 EMERGENCY has treated over 391,389 people in Iraq.