“There are 35 percent of children who are “short stager” – very small for their age. It’s increasing. Last year it was 25 percent. It affects the under fives the most.”
Dr. Hadil Malo
“I saw a girl covered in blood. I carried her to the hospital, but she was dead when we got there,” said Fadi Fannoun, a print worker in Western Aleppo. “It was terrible, but that was everyday in Aleppo”.
Now he just wants his daughter, 6 year old Rita, to be able to study and be safe. He is resting after an operation on his hernia a week ago.
“I was the only one who could carry water and wood to the house,” he said. “I was in terrible pain but I didn’t have money for surgery.” Fadi benefited from the Caritas medical programme, which organised and paid for his surgery. He is now getting better.
Dr Hadil Malo works at the Caritas medical centre. “The people who come here are very poor. They don’t have money. They are often seriously ill, with cancer or heart disease. During the war, it was difficult for them to find the medicine,” she said.
She is a paediatrician. “There is a big problem with malnutrition. Children don’t eat properly. They just drink tea and have some bread.” 35 percent of children in Aleppo are very small for their age. Last year it was 25 percent.
Nine year old Hala Abden is one of her patients. One of her eyes was damaged by a bomb. “She needs treatment but it is very expensive. Her parents can’t afford it,” said the doctor. “Caritas is trying to help them get the money. She will lose her sight in that eye if she doesn’t get help.”
Camilla and Jules
“We are old and ill. My life is pain on pain. Caritas gives us food baskets, clothes and medication. Without them, we’d have nothing to wear.”
Camilla is an 85 year old widower. She lives with Jules, six years her junior and also a widower. “We are like brother and sister. If he is hungry, I’m hungry. If I suffer, he suffers. If one of us dies, the other will die. ”
Both benefit from the work of Caritas. “Luckily Caritas comes to look after us,” she said. “We would be lost without their help. We are old and ill. My life is pain on pain. Caritas gives us food baskets, clothes and medication. Without them, we’d have nothing to wear.”
Camilla is old enough to remember Aleppo during the Second World War, through French colonialism, through martial law and the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. “When I was young growing up in Aleppo, there was no electricity. We’d use gaslight and cook on a Babor,” she said.
“Aleppo developed into a modern city. Now it is destroyed, but it will grow back again. Pray for us and those who help us. Give them the power to help poor and powerless people.”