Four Children from Gaza Arrive in the United States for Medical Treatment

The four children from the Gaza Strip had endured unimaginable horrors.

On Sunday morning, they finally completed a challenging journey out of the conflict zone and arrived at U.S. hospitals for the critical medical care they desperately needed. Their flight from Cairo landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, where a welcoming crowd of approximately 50 people greeted them with excitement, holding plush toys, flowers, and colorful balloons.

In the midst of the bustling crowd, there stood Fadi Alzant, a six-year-old boy with a frail frame, pale complexion, and strawberry blond hair. He seemed overwhelmed, his gaze lost in the chaos surrounding his wheelchair. A sense of urgency filled the air as an airport staff member anxiously urged people to disperse and stow away their cameras.

Fadi, a 25-pound child with cystic fibrosis, is currently experiencing severe malnourishment due to the famine. The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, facilitated the children’s journeys and disclosed this information.

The small child with wide eyes was carefully lifted from his wheelchair by paramedics and placed onto a gurney. Despite the size difference, they gently transferred him to an ambulance that was headed for Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens.

A woman in the crowd, her eyes brimming with tears, expressed her love, saying, “We love you!”

“Hey guys, let’s not overwhelm them,” another person suggested. “Did they manage to get some water?”

The Relief Fund, a nonprofit organization that relies on volunteers, is dedicated to offering free medical care to children who are injured or sick. According to the organization, the other children will be transported to hospitals in Ohio, Texas, and South Carolina to receive the necessary treatment.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, over 34,000 individuals have lost their lives in Gaza since the war started following the Hamas-led attack on Israel on Oct. 7, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people.

Tareq Hailat, who assists in managing the travel initiatives for the charity organization, explained that the selection of the children was based on referrals received from hospitals in Gaza, or in many cases, identified through social media posts highlighting their dire circumstances. In the case of Fadi, for example, the group came across a video made by his mother, appealing for assistance, which quickly gained widespread attention. So far, the team has successfully evacuated over 100 children to Egypt, with 60 of them subsequently being relocated to other countries. Among these, seven children, including the four who recently arrived on Sunday, have been brought to the United States.

Melo, a volunteer for the Gaza Sunbirds, is of Palestinian and Latino descent and prefers to use the pronouns they and them. They passionately support the team’s mission to raise funds for aid to Gaza. Melo acknowledges the immense hardships endured by the people of Gaza and believes that extending a warm welcome is the least they can do to show support and solidarity.

Rakan Aldardasawi, a 9-year-old boy, suffered injuries during an Israeli airstrike that tragically claimed the lives of his three sisters. Aid workers reported that Rakan was miraculously rescued from under the rubble after being trapped there for several hours. Currently, he is being transported to a hospital in Galveston, Texas for medical treatment.

On Sunday, he exuded happiness, flashing a wide grin as he effortlessly answered questions in Arabic and accepted thoughtful gifts from numerous strangers who eagerly captured the moment on their smartphones. Seated comfortably in his wheelchair, he playfully tinkered with the string of a heart-shaped balloon, beautifully decorated with a charming illustration of a teddy bear accompanied by the heartfelt phrase, “I love you.”

According to the aid group, her home in Jabalia refugee camp was hit by an Israeli airstrike, leaving her face severely burned with third-degree injuries. Due to the severity of her condition, she is being transferred to a hospital in Dayton, Ohio, as it is not feasible for her to receive treatment in Gaza.

Despite suffering from severe injuries, Saja joyfully pranced around the airport on Sunday. Volunteers crouched down, playfully holding balloons near her, which she eagerly batted at while spinning in circles.

“These are the very first memories they have of this place,” Melo said, with a touch of nostalgia in his voice. “In the grand narrative of their lives, this is the moment where we hold the pen. I hope that we can create something truly beautiful together.”

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MBS Staff
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