Airlift Hamburg-Kabul-Hamburg: Aid for 79 Seriously-Injured Children

Airlift Hamburg-Kabul-Hamburg: Aid for 79 Seriously-Injured Children

Klaus Rösler - October 24, 2007

Hamburg/Kabul – A large humanitarian airlift on 17 October brought 59 seriously-ill or –injured children from the Afghan capital Kabul to Hamburg. They will be treated in the coming weeks in 30 German hospitals and specialty clinics. Following treatment they will be taken care of by guest parents until they can return recuperated to their country in approximately three months. On the flight to Afghanistan, 20 children who had successfully completed their treatment in Germany were taken back, making a total of 79 children on the airlift. The German ARD-TV evening news programme “Tagesschau” reported on this joint effort by the organisation “Children Need Us” (Kinder brauchen uns - Mühlheim/Ruhr) and the Baptist Albertina charity society in Hamburg.

Dr. Matthias Angrés, Medical Director of Albertina-Hospital in Hamburg, stated: “In light of the indescribable need apparent in Afghanistan, we intend to help as long as we are needed. And we want to help as many children as we possibly can.” The airlift cost roughly 110.000 euros ($154.000) and was paid for by donations from private persons and firms. Operations for 12 child heart-patients in Albertina-Hospital will cost an additional 132.000 euros ($184,800).

The children aged three to 17 years are suffering from life-threatening heart illnesses, serious burn injuries, explosion and gunshot wounds as well as other injuries. On the very day of their arrival, the young patients were driven to 30 clinics throughout Germany in 12 ambulances provided free-of-charge.

Albertina’s Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Dr. Fokko ter Haseborg (Hamburg) declared: “This effort promotes understanding between people from differing cultures. We are thereby also supporting and promoting respect between Christians and Muslims.” This can therefore lead to integration. Prof. Dr. Maliha Zulfacar (Berlin), the Afghan ambassador in Germany, had travelled to Hamburg to greet the children. “This is the way to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people,” she remarked. “This is an important contribution towards the re-establishment of peace and stability in my country.”

Since 2001, “Children Need Us” has supported 300 ill or injured Afghan children for medical treatment in Germany. The Albertina charity society, which belongs to the federation of Baptist congregations in Germany, employs 2.400 persons and offers 1.000 hospital places for the ill. It is also active in care for the aged and the elderly who struggle with mental problems.