NEW DELHI: Mansoor Ali Mastor’s quiet demeanor hides the fire inside. His amputated legs have not dampened his spirit to go to the battlefield again. He is now waiting for his artificial legs to be fitted so that he can stand.
The 28-year-old farmer is from Hodeidah, a district in the northwest of Yemen. Late last year he gave up farming, as Houthi rebels planted landmines in his field, and joined the army to fight the Iranian-backed militia. His father was kidnapped and kept in captivity for a year. In March this year, as he was walking down the street leading to his house, a landmine claimed both his legs.
For the past four months he has been at New Delhi’s Medeor hospital.
“The Houthis have planted bombs not only in the fields but also in our kitchen. For us living is a daily challenge,” Mastor said.
“I am just waiting for my artificial legs to fit, so I can go back home and fight. I am really thankful to the UAE government for giving me new hope in life, and grateful to the Medeor hospital for nurturing me.”
Twenty-one-year-old Helmi Mahfoodh is also taking treatment for his badly injured leg in Medeor. Hailing from Al-Wazaia in Taiz District in Yemen, Mahfoodh’s left leg was badly injured by a landmine when he was fighting the Houthis.
After spending four months in hospital, he is waiting to fly back home.
“We are grateful to Saudi Arabia and the UAE for standing by the people of Yemen,” he said. He, too, was considering becoming a farmer, but “Houthi insurgency has destabilized our lives. We need to eliminate them for the future of Yemen.”
In the last two years more than 1,000 injured people from Yemen — both soldiers and civilians — have been brought to New Delhi for treatment. Some of the injuries were so complex that the doctors at the Medeor hospital had to perform multiple surgeries.
The UAE government has been funding the treatment, and India has been facilitating the process, by issuing visas to the injured people and those accompanying them.
“The UAE has strong bilateral ties and cooperation with India, and health care is one of the most important areas of collaboration,” said Dr. Ahmed Al-Banna, the UAE’s ambassador to India.
“The UAE government, as part of its international responsibility to humanitarian aid, chose the Medeor hospital as its partner to provide health care facilities to injured Yemeni people. Since July 2016 we have helped over 1,000 people from Yemen in India,” added Al-Banna at a press conference in Delhi last week.
Helping the UAE is the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a humanitarian group which helps people in the conflict zone.
Al-Banna says that the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis was doing its best to ensure there are no civilian casualties.
Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, chairman and managing director of VPS Health Care, told Arab News: “The mission was initiated by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Shaikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
“We are extremely privileged that the UAE government has trusted us to send Yemeni patients to our hospital for treatment. We have formed a special team of specialist doctors and nurses,” he added.