With exhausted features that do not hide relief in crossing to the shores of safety, Palestinian mother Samia bint Halima said upon arriving in the Emirates, “The situation in Gaza is going from bad to worse… it’s suffering, truly suffering.”
She continued, “We were shelled (bombarded); I am injured, and my son is injured with third-degree burns. My husband was martyred, and the whole family perished, leaving just me and my son.”
On Saturday, the first plane carrying the first batch of children and their families arrived as part of the initiative by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, to treat a thousand Palestinian children along with their families from Gaza in its hospitals.
As soon as the plane landed at Abu Dhabi airport, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan launched a new initiative to host a thousand Palestinians suffering from cancer from various age groups in Gaza, providing treatment in its hospitals.
Mother of Muhammad, who wore a veil, said, “My son is injured in his eye, and there is no treatment or functioning hospitals in Gaza.”
Another mother, afraid because it was her first time traveling, narrated that she left her injured husband in Gaza after he underwent a “surgery without anesthesia” at the “Al-Shifa” medical complex.
Pain and Hope
Among the evacuated children on Friday night was a 13-year-old boy with wounded hands, his two-year-old cousin, a milk bottle, and a black bag on his back.
The teenager, wearing a red shirt, recounted that he and his cousin lost their relatives due to the war, and now they have no one to care for them in Gaza.
Maryam Al Nuaimi, the head of the evacuation team from Sheikh Khalifa Hospital, told AFP that there is a “full medical team” from Emirati hospitals on the evacuation plane, ready to handle any case during the journey.
She said, “We are currently a mobile hospital.”
Unlike others, 10-year-old Lujain, suffering from lung cancer, smiled while holding red flowers presented to her by the plane’s crew.
Lujain’s mother, who was recently, displaced to one of the schools in the sector, said, “I cannot describe the suffering” in Gaza, especially “with regard to food and drink.”
Mohammed Al Kaabi, the UAE Red Crescent envoy to El Arish Airport, said, “We want to carry out daily evacuation operations.”
The evacuation flights for children are part of a series of humanitarian initiatives announced by the UAE to support Gaza.