IRAQ: Happy New Year!

EMERGENCY’s Humanitarian Response Programme Manager in Iraq reflects on seeing in the new year in Afghanistan, and his new role in Iraq.

“We have just finished an inten1Lashkar-gah_se year. I began 2015 as a logistician in Lashkar-gah, in southern Afghanistan. Along with all my colleagues I spent that New Year’s Eve handling a mass casualty, the infamous wedding massacre in Sangin. There were only women and children there, about fifty of them. We worked all night, almost until dawn; then after a few hours of sleep we were back in the hospital, tired and truly tested but also gratified and proud of ourselves.

In the months after that, things did not go much better for the Afghan people: it was another cruel and violent year in Afghanistan. Some of my colleagues are still there to carry on with what we started more than 15 years ago. They continue working hard and sleeping very little, because war has no concept of time.

Now I’m not there anymore, because last April I came to Iraq as Programme Manager. Here I came across a new reality… but it was still war, which has forced millions of people here from their homes. From Syria and Iraq itself, hundreds of thousands of families have left their homes to look for a place where they can be safe, away from gunfire or explosions. In Iraq, EMERGENCY helps these people by providing them with medical care in refugee camps. In 2015 we treated 120,000 people in need of help, at our clinics, with attention and care.

I have ended 2015 here in Iraq and I will be staying on for 2016.

11041887_711416592302276_3681395394850135823_o-1024x683I feel gratified and proud of what I do as part of EMERGENCY. Over the past four years I have met some wonderful friends and colleagues, professionals and people of great depth. I have worked with them and shared both good and bad days. I want to wish all of them a happy 2016, as well as our families and our friends and especially all of you and all the people who support us, thus allowing us to continue to do our work: providing treatment to those who need it.

Happy New Year and thank you for everything!”

Giacomo is EMERGENCY’s Humanitarian Response Programme Manager in Iraq. EMERGENCY has been working in Iraq since 1995, providing free, high-quality healthcare to refugees and internally displaced persons through clinics and health centres built in camps. Additionally, EMERGENCY also runs the Sulaimaniya Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Centre which was established in response to the high volume of landmine injuries sustained in Kurdistan, northern Iraq. The centre specialises in physiotherapy and in the production of prostheses, orthoses, and walking aids/orthopaedic devices for disabled and amputee patients. Vocational and professional training in a range of trades is also provided, to help patients lead an independent life.

To find out more about EMERGENCY’s work around the world, click here.

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