UAE flight with Gaza victims: ‘I am relieved,’ says pregnant Palestinian woman in Abu Dhabi

She is among the first batch of nine patients who have reached Abu Dhabi after managing to cross the Rafah Border


Ashwani Kumar

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Soumiya. — Photo by Shihab/KT
Soumiya. — Photo by Shihab/KT

Published: Sat 18 Nov 2023, 6:57 PM

Last updated: Sun 19 Nov 2023, 6:19 PM

A 36-week pregnant Palestinian woman is relieved after being evacuated to Abu Dhabi on a special flight on Saturday morning.

Soumiya, who has injuries on her leg, landed at the Abu Dhabi International Airport from Egypt’s El Arish International Airport along with her one-and-a-half-year-old son Fati Ala, who has severe burn injuries.

Fati Ala. — Photo by Shihab/KT
Fati Ala. — Photo by Shihab/KT

“I am relieved to have reached here. I am happy to be safe. My children are safe here, which is the most important thing right now,” she said at the airport.

Soumiya is among the first batch of nine patients who have reached Abu Dhabi after managing to cross the Rafah Border – the only way to enter Egypt from the Gaza Strip.

“I hope to receive much-needed treatment. I thank the leadership, the medical fraternity, the volunteers, and everyone involved in this mission.”

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She, along with her child, was among the first patients to be transported from the flight to a waiting ambulance of Response Plus Medical to be taken to Burjeel Medical City (BMC) – the flagship quaternary care hospital under Burjeel Holdings.

Other hospitals, which were part of the mission include NMC Healthcare and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, part of the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) network, which is a PureHealth subsidiary.

Dr Zainul Aabideen. — Photo by Ashwani Kumar/KT
Dr Zainul Aabideen. — Photo by Ashwani Kumar/KT

‘First mission a great success’

Doctors on the medical team shared the struggle they witnessed during the mission while stressing the importance of care the UAE provides to children and families. Dr Zainul Aabideen, who was part of the medical team accompanying the patients on the flight, noted that the first mission was a great success.

“We went to El Arish airport on Friday evening. Our team leaders were in constant contact with the hospital and officials. This mission is a great model of how effective teamwork under our great leadership can bring respite and care to those in need,” said Dr. Aabideen, the consultant and head of paediatric haematology, oncology, and bone marrow transplant, at BMC.

“The patients of the first batch are stable, and utmost medical care will be given to them. More than their physical injuries, they are disturbed emotionally. There are children whose parents were killed in the bombing, and have a fracture in their legs. For the last month, they have been in hospital there.”

Meanwhile, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a new directive to fly in 1,000 Palestinian cancer patients for treatment in UAE hospitals. Earlier, Sheikh Mohamed had announced a decision to provide medical care to 1,000 Palestinian children and their families at hospitals in the country.


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