The Portal July 2018 - Page 20

THE P RTAL July 2018 Page 20 Aid to the Church in Need Goodness and mercy in the Valley of the Christians in Syria Murcadha O Flaherty reports D espite the ceasefire in Syria, the war’s impact is still as bad as it was at the height of the conflict according to medical staff at Mzeina Hospital. The hospital is located in the rural Syrian town of the same name, one of several settlements in the Valley of the Christians close to the border with Lebanon. Describing the ongoing suffering endured by the people, the hospital’s director Dr Sam Abboud said, “The hospital has been open for four years now and for the past two years the number of admittances, operations and basic treatments has been growing steadily.” The hospital treats thousands of people every month and has up to 500 inpatients. Dr Abboud told an Aid to the Church in Need project team visiting Syria that the hospital has a special programme for children and young people with hearing problems arising from the years of conflict. The doctor said, “Many of these cases are caused by bombs and other explosions during the war.” Even with a lack of infrastructure, difficulties in obtaining new medical equipment and constant power cuts, the doctors and other staff are providing help for those in need. He told staff from ACN that “in this last year we have managed to obtain medicines which until ones are in Homs or Tartus, an hour or more away by car on account of the army security controls. That is recently it was impossible to find in Syria”. why the healthcare service offered by the Church in Mzeina Hospital works closely with St Peter’s Aid this region is greatly appreciated by those displaced by Centre in the nearby town of Marmarita helping both the war, who have few financial means.” those displaced by the war and impoverished locals. One patient, Najwa Arabi, a middle-aged mother The centre is run by the Melkite Church, one of the Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with who has had surgery on her stomach said to Elias and Rome. Toni Tannous, the head of physiotherapy at the ACN project team that visited the hospital with the hospital, was himself internally displaced. He him: “Thank you for coming to see us, and thanks also said, “I myself had to flee from Homs because of the to your benefactors. We know that there are people in war and now I am working here. All of us feel a sense many countries around the world who are helping us. of responsibility in one way or another to help in Every day we pray for them and give thanks to God”. whatever way we can.”  ACN has been helping support Aid to the Church in Need provides move than the care of many patients at St Peter’s. £43,000 (around €50,000) each month to the St  Elías Jahloum, a volunteer at St Peter’s, said, “From Peter’s Aid Centre in Marmarita, covering the cost the health centre run by the Melkite Church in of essential medicines and the medical care for over Marmarita we attend to over a hundred urgent medical 4,000 people in need. Dr Abboud said, “We continue cases a month, in addition to other cases where we pay to need your aid. You are the hope of all these people, for medicines. We take the families to the hospital and and a wonderful example for our society”. )ٔݽɭɕЁݥѠѡ5镥!х)Ѽѡ ɍ9ܹլɜ)ѼɕЁѡѡɗt!胊q%ѡY䁽ѡ)х聅լɜȁȀ) ɥѥ́ѡɔɔՉх̃Lѡ͕