Four children from Gaza have arrived in the United States for medical treatment

The four children endured unimaginable horrors in the Gaza Strip.

On Sunday morning, after enduring a challenging journey out of the conflict zone, they finally arrived at U.S. hospitals to receive the urgent medical care they desperately needed. Their flight from Cairo landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, where they were warmly welcomed by a crowd of approximately 50 people. The crowd greeted them with excitement, holding plush toys, flowers, and colorful balloons that bobbed in the air.

In the midst of the commotion, there stood Fadi Alzant, a 6-year-old boy with pale skin and strawberry blond hair. He seemed dazed as the bustling crowd surrounded his wheelchair. The sight of this gaunt child caught the attention of an airport employee, who became increasingly agitated and yelled at the people to disperse and stop taking pictures.

According to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, Fadi, a 25-pound child with cystic fibrosis, is experiencing severe malnourishment due to the famine. The organization, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, facilitated the children’s trips.

The little boy will receive medical care at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens. With tender care, paramedics gently lifted the small child, his eyes filled with wonder, out of his wheelchair and onto a gurney that seemed even more enormous in comparison. They then carefully transported him to the hospital in an ambulance.

A woman in the crowd, tears streaming down her face, expressed her love, saying, “We love you!”

Another voice chimed in, urging everyone to avoid overwhelming them. The concern was raised about whether or not they had been given water.

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

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, over 34,000 people have lost their lives in Gaza since the war in the Gaza Strip started with the Hamas-led attack on Israel on October 7th, resulting in approximately 1,200 casualties.

Tareq Hailat, a key member of the charity group responsible for managing travel arrangements, explained that the selection process for the children was based on referrals from hospitals in Gaza. Alternatively, children were identified through social media posts that highlighted their urgent need for assistance. For example, Fadi was discovered after his mother’s heartfelt plea for help went viral. To date, the team has successfully evacuated over 100 children to Egypt, with 60 of them subsequently relocated to different countries. Among them, seven children, including the four who recently arrived on Sunday, have been brought to the United States.

Lafi Melo, a 28-year-old from the Bronx, emphasized the significance of demonstrating genuine support for the people of Palestine. “It’s crucial that we convey our unwavering commitment to the individuals there,” he stated. Melo joined others at the airport on Sunday to express solidarity with the children and their families.

Melo, a volunteer for the Gaza Sunbirds, a paracycling team raising funds for Gaza, is of Palestinian and Latino descent and prefers to be referred to as they and them. They expressed empathy for the hardships endured by the people of Gaza, stating, “These people have been through so much to get to this point.” Melo believes that extending a warm welcome is the least they can do to support the cause.

She expressed the indescribable horror of every moment as they anxiously waited for their connecting flight. Her sole focus was on ensuring Adam’s safe arrival and receiving the necessary medical treatment. With hope and determination, she added, “Inshallah, we will return.”

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

On Sunday, he seemed to be in high spirits, flashing a broad grin while answering questions in Arabic and accepting presents from numerous strangers who eagerly snapped photos with their smartphones. Seated in his wheelchair, he playfully toyed with the string of a heart-shaped balloon featuring a cute teddy bear illustration and the heartfelt words “I love you.”

Despite her extensive injuries, Saja was seen frolicking through the airport on Sunday. Volunteer workers crouched nearby, holding balloons for her to play with. She batted at them and spun in circles, showing her playful spirit.

“These are the very first memories they have of this place,” Melo expressed. “In the story of their lives, we are currently holding the pen. Therefore, I hope that we can create something truly beautiful.”

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MBS Staff
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