Desperate medics in Mosul make plea for help


He is in desperate need of artificial limbs, wheelchairs and crutches and is entirely dependent on local donors to provide them.

“We need locals to pay for wheelchairs,” he told me. “I have already given 500 out to adults and kids this year but it is not enough. Listen, I have registered tens of thousands of handicapped patients.”

A man on crutches waits in line for treatment
Image:A man on crutches waits in line for treatment

Sitting quietly in the corner with a colouring book on her lap, I noticed a girl called Maryam Ahmad Sameer.

She was shot in the face as she tried to flee the fighting in June and has lost the use of one eye. The nine-year-old can barely see in the other.

I asked Maryam if she would describe what happened.

“We came out of the house, we wanted to run away, but a rocket – a bullet – came out of the blue. I didn’t feel anything but I knew I was falling to the ground,” she told me.

Mariam needs advanced surgery, skin grafts and rehabilitation but her parents do not have the means to pay for a private doctor. They lost everything they own, including their house, in the final battle for Mosul.

“We have come for some help,” said Maryam. “My father is unemployed and we live in a rented house – the rent is expensive and we can’t afford it.”

Clinic director Dr Saad Salem says the people of Mosul have been left ‘helpless’
Image:Clinic director Dr Saad Salem says the people have been left ‘helpless’

There was not much Dr Saad could do to help her, however. He cannot register her for treatment – or financial support – because Maryam can still has some vision in one eye.

The doctor told Maryam: “Come back in January next year, and we will see if you have healed.”

Abdul Hakim Abudullah has badly damaged legs and I noticed him slumped in a wheelchair.

He told me that he and his son were hit by a rocket after IS forced them out of their home. “My feelings? I cannot see with my eyes. I cannot walk with my feet. I am a very tired man.”

I asked him if he would recover, but he gestured towards his 10-year-old son. He lost one leg and has metal nails holding the other one together.

The father said of his son: “He is young, what did he do wrong? War, it tears us apart.”

An man injured in the fighting is carried into the hospital
Image:An injured man is carried into the hospital

Dr Saad raced around in something of a blur, as we spoke to those desperate to see him. Over the course of the morning, he examined several hundred patients – but the frazzled-looking medic was overwhelmed.

“We need a prosthesis factory in Mosul. It is extremely urgent. Please, we are helpless. We are helpless from over government, our politicians. It is below the minimum level. We get talk. What we get is talk.”

His message is shared by many in this city. Victory over IS in Mosul was declared several weeks ago, but the fight to survive goes on and few expect the government to provide.


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