US receives four injured children from Gaza for medical treatment amid Israel-Hamas conflict

According to an aid organization, four Palestinian children who were injured or fell ill during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war have arrived in the United States to receive medical treatment.

The children, consisting of three boys and one girl aged between 3 and 11, were safely transported to Egypt before being flown to the United States. They arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sunday morning, where they were immediately taken to hospitals in New York, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas to receive critical medical treatment.

According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, over the course of the war that started on Oct. 7, 2023, almost 15,000 children in Gaza have lost their lives, while thousands more have been left injured. These injuries often include fractures and severe burns, which unfortunately cannot be properly treated in Gaza due to the inadequate medical resources and challenging conditions in the besieged area.

Tareq Hailat, the head of the treatment abroad program at the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF), collaborated with the World Health Organization to facilitate the children’s journeys. He emphasized that the sheer number of 15,000 children killed often fails to create a vivid picture in our minds.

“When people in the United States are exposed to such distressing images of these children, they can truly grasp the gravity of the situation. These images serve as a reminder that these are not just statistics. Each of these children has endured unimaginably difficult circumstances like this, which not only impact their own lives but also the lives of everyone connected to them,” he elaborated.

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, since October 7, when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel and Israel responded with military operations in Gaza, the Israeli forces have caused the death of at least 34,183 people and injured 77,143 others. On the other hand, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that at least 1,700 Israelis have been killed and 8,700 others injured by Hamas or other Palestinian militants.

According to Hailat, the PCRF has successfully transported 100 children from Gaza to Egypt. Out of these, 60 children have been relocated to other countries for medical treatment. As of now, seven children are currently in the United States, with the recent addition of four new arrivals.

Fadi Al Zant, a 6-year-old child, is facing the harsh reality of severe malnourishment and cystic fibrosis, as reported by the PCRF. The northern Gaza region is currently experiencing a dire situation, described by the U.N. as a “full-blown famine.” Fadi’s weight is only about 28 pounds, which is equivalent to that of a typical 2-year-old toddler. At his lowest point, he weighed a mere 25 pounds, according to the PCRF.

According to Hailat, individuals with cystic fibrosis require nearly three times the number of calories as compared to those without the condition. Therefore, due to his chronic illness, he needed not only more calories but also specific types of nutrition. The specific caloric requirements for a child with cystic fibrosis vary based on factors such as age, weight, and the severity of the disease, as stated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Fadi, who was originally from northern Gaza, was safely evacuated to the south. From there, he successfully crossed into Egypt and is now on his way to the United States. He will be receiving treatment at the Northwell Cohen’s Children Center in New York, as stated by the PCRF.

According to the PCRF, two other children, Rakan Aldardaswai, 9, and Adam Abuajawa, 11, have sustained severe injuries as a result of the intense fighting in Gaza.

Rakan, who was injured in November, experienced a devastating incident when an airstrike obliterated the house where he and his family sought refuge. Trapped under debris for an agonizing two hours, he was eventually rescued, but not without enduring severe injuries. The PCRF (Palestine Children’s Relief Fund) reported that Rakan suffered fractures in both his femurs, resulting in constant pain. Regrettably, the internal fixation surgery, which employs implanted hardware to realign fractured bones, did not yield the desired outcome.

Saja Bilal Junaid, a 3-year-old girl, became the last patient to receive treatment. She sustained third-degree burns on her face during an Israeli airstrike at the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza. Due to the scarcity of skilled surgeons in Gaza and the severity of her burns, she had to be transported to the United States for medical care, as reported by the PCRF.

Saja’s mother and youngest brother are by her side as she embarks on her treatment journey. Hailat mentioned that she will be undergoing skin grafts and potentially reconstructive surgery.

Hailat admitted to ABC News that the evacuation of the 100 children by his organization may appear insignificant. However, he emphasized the immense difficulties involved in the process itself.

The process of extracting these children and obtaining visas for them to come to the United States is incredibly challenging. We hope that the process can be simplified, allowing us to assist a larger number of people than we have been able to thus far,” he expressed.

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MBS Staff
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