Today our hearts go out to the individuals and families who have been devastated by the horrific and senseless bomb attack that happened today, this time on our own soil. There is no way to understand or make sense of these kinds of acts, driven only by darkness and evil. I’m sure you are already with me in praying for these people affected today and in the coming days and months, for their healing both on the inside as well as the outside.
Please also pray that the people capable to carrying out these attacks here, in Europe, in the Middle East and across the world will be be changed, that their hearts will be turned from wanting to spread fear, violence and destruction to instead spreading love, hope and reconciliation.
As I read the reports today, I was also struck by the amazing infrastructure that we are so blessed with, ready to respond to such a terrible event. An emergency helpline was set up for worried relatives to call, 60 ambulances attended the scene and the injured were taken to six difference hospitals in Manchester. As a former A&E nurse I am aware that a major incident would be declared in those hospitals and extra staff and resources would be brought in to deal with the many injured people. I am so thankful that we have these kind of resources for our children and loved ones at our time of great need.
I also felt a great sadness in my heart as I reflected that when these same terrorist attacks take place in Syria, the people cannot hope for any kind of response like this. These kind of terrorist attacks in Syria have two parts, the initial explosion devastating many lives, then as the ambulances and emergency workers gather to help the casualties, a suicide bomber detonates a second bomb designed to cause as much fear and destruction as possible.
So many medical workers and ambulances have been destroyed in these attacks that when attacks like this which kill and injure huge numbers of people take place, the most they can hope for is a few ambulances. Sometimes 1-3 ambulances for double, treble and quadruple the number of people who were injured today. Members of the public carry the injured to hospitals if there are any in the area in their arms or they take them in pick up trucks or the back of people’s cars. Sometimes there are no hospitals, and when there are, they many not have the staff, equipment or medicines needed to give the injured the care they need. There is no helpline for worried relatives to call.
While I was in Syria I was privileged to visit all of our medical projects. I was especially excited to visit our first three “Meditainers”. The video above (click on the image to watch – apologies for the broken link in last email, we are working on a new database) shows how three containers that we sent from Worthing and Essex in the UK have been converted into the meditainers that you see being used to carry out operations towards the end of the video. For a change, I wanted to show you a more routine operation rather than just blood and trauma in Syria.
I stood inside the meditainer in Syria, featured in this movie, and talked with our doctor who manages the hospital where it is currently based. Having personally helped to load this container in the UK, I could see the amazing transformation that Dr A and our team in Syria have worked so hard to achieve. It was a great honour for me to be able thank all of the team there personally for their great work and commitment. These are the amazing souls who have chosen to stay and serve their people in spite of the danger when so many others have understandably fled to safer places.
The idea of these Meditainers was born out of a need to provide urgent life-saving medical care in the most challenging war zone of our time. This design was put together by Dr A and our doctors with our specific needs in mind.
Last year, Dr A lost his hospital in the desert when ISIS took the area it was in. The situation there deteriorated over a number of weeks and as the fighting got closer and closer to the hospital it was a tough call for the medical team there. No one wanted to leave the people of this area with no medical care for many miles around, but equally the team were fearful for their lives.
It is a continuing challenge to make these decisions weighing up when to stay and when to leave. On one hand if you are too far from the fighting, it is hard to provide care to many of those who need it most, but if you are too close to the fighting then everything can be lost including the precious team themselves.
While our meditainers cannot solve all of the complicated problems that come with providing emergency care in this complex war zone, they do give us an ability to serve the people in a number of different areas where there is no medical care. If the fighting gets closer then we have some ability to be able to move our team and facilities to a safer area. It is a brilliant use of the empty containers that we have used to send aid into Syria in.
As each Meditainer costs us around $35,000 to convert and equip, we are really keen to ask you whether you, your churches, schools and workplaces can help us with the fundraising for these projects. We have another 14 containers in Syria waiting to be converted. The sooner we can do this, more of the 12.8 million people needing healthcare provision in Syria will have access to emergency medical care.
Our new fundraising site with BT Mydonate allows you to set up your own fundraising page which will send the money you raise directly to us. The best part is that they don’t charge us any fees for this service unlike other well known online giving platforms, and gift aid can also be claimed if you tick the gift aid box. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS BT MYDONATE PAGE
If you plan a fundraising event in which people may need to pay money at the event ie an auction or similar, you can set up your own fundraising page and your guests can pay by card online at the event using wifi or their phone data (check network coverage in the area first!) and the additional benefit is that gift aid can be claimed on their payment for their prize or service which might otherwise be lost at an event like this. If they ensure that they include their name then you can see that they have made their payment or donation at the event.
To see the page where you can set up your own fundraising page to support our medical projects, please CLICK ON THIS LINK TO VISIT FUNDRAISING LINK PAGE.
If you are interested in organizing a collection of aid here in the UK to send to Syria and Iraq, please download our information pack then register as a collector with us by following the instructions in the pack.
The amazing things that we have achieved over the last few years have all been achieved through you. Through your generosity of time, love and giving.
Thanks so much to all of you for making this essential and life-saving work possible.