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More Syrian patients brought to the Czech Republic from Jordan

(This article expired 08.11.2013.)

On Tuesday 6 November, a Czech military aircraft brought a group of Syrian refugees from Jordan to Prague, where they will be treated under the MEDEVAC humanitarian program.

On Tuesday 6 November, a Czech military aircraft brought a group of Syrian refugees from Jordan to Prague, where they will be treated under the MEDEVAC humanitarian program. 10 patients, including 4 children, were selected for the treatment in the Czech Republic. They sustained injuries during the fighting between the opposition and the government of President Bashar al-Assad, or suffer from diseases that can not be adequately treated under given circumstances.

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Farewell at Marka-Amman Airport (Photo by Reuters)

 

"The end of the Syrian conflict remains unlikely in the near future," says the Deputy Interior Minister Mr. Jaroslav Hruška, about the deteriorating situation in the war-torn country. "Since the spring 2011, Syria is in a state of internal armed conflict between the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition. Therefore, the humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugees is on the top of the list of our priorities."

In this context, the Czech Republic provided this year financial assistance in the amount of CZK 14 million to the UNHCR and the International Committee of the Red Cross for their activities in support of the civilian population in Syria and the Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.

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One of the patients just about to board the Czech military plane bound for Prague (Photo by Lucie Uhlířová)

 

On 6 November, the delegation of the Czech Ministries of Interior, Health and Foreign Affairs, in presence of the Czech Ambassador to Jordan Ivana Holoubkova visited the largest refugee camp in the Jordan, located near the village of Zatari in Northern Jordan. During its visit, the delegation met the representatives of the camp, UNHCR, UNICEF, Save the Children humanitarian organization and the French field hospital.

The selection of the patients took place in close cooperation with the Czech Embassy in Amman. It was carried out by a medical team of Dr.Filip Burget, a traumatologist from the General University Hospital in Prague and Dr. Viktor Rehacek, an orthopedist from the Motol University Hospital in Prague. The People in Need humanitarian organization based in Prague also partly supported the project.

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One of the heavily injured Syrians boarding the Czech military plane bound for Prague (photo by Lucie Uhlířová)

 

"The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan showed great tolerance and its leaders repeatedly declared their readiness to keep its borders open for the Syrian refugees and not to force them to return to Syria," says Jitka Škovránková, the People in Need program coordinator for the Middle East. People in Need has been active in the region since 2003, when the crisis in Iraq broke out.

The Czech Republic implemented the MEDEVAC program for the first time during the Iraq crisis. According to Mr. Jan Ruzicka from thr Ministry of Health, the MEDEVAC in Iraq focused on the treatment of pediatric heart diseases. Only in connection with armed conflicts in Libya and Syria, the program also focuses on the war wounds of the adults.

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One of the heavily injured Syrians boarding the Czech military plane bound for Prague (photo Lucie Uhlířová)

 

The MEDEVAC program is administered by the Ministry of Interior in cooperation with ministries of health, foreign affairs and defense. The program has been in place since 1993, when it was launched in response to the armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, followed by the war in Kosovo. The expansion of the program to the Syrian refugees has been approved by the Czech government in July this year. At the end of August the first two Syrian refugees aged 21 and 25 years came to the Czech Republic for medical treatment. On the top of that, five adult patients from Libya and three children from Burma / Myanmar with congenital heart defects have been treated in the Czech hospitals under the MEDEVAC program this year.