With UAE’s support, Yemen’s war victims get a healing touch in India

Mansoor Ali Mastor, 28, from Hodeidah, Yemen, who lost both his legs to a landmine blast, being treated in Delhi for four months. (AN photo by Sanjay Kumar)
Updated 31 July 2019
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With UAE’s support, Yemen’s war victims get a healing touch in India

  • In two years, more than 1,000 have been brought to New Delhi for treatment

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.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The UAE has been funding the treatment, and India has been facilitating the process, by issuing visas to the injured and those accompanying them.

• Helping the UAE is the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a humanitarian group which helps people in the conflict zone.

• Some of the injuries were so complex that the doctors at the Medeor hospital had to perform multiple surgeries.

“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.


In Texas, Trump and Modi vow relentless fight on extremists

Updated 23 September 2019

In Texas, Trump and Modi vow relentless fight on extremists

  • Taking the flavor of one of Trump’s own boisterous rallies, Modi later asked the crowd to give a standing ovation to Trump for his stance

HOUSTON: US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday declared themselves united in a relentless fight against “terrorism,” vowing a close, personal alliance in front of tens of thousands of Indian-Americans.

The two leaders, like-minded nationalists fond of fiery rallies and skeptical of traditional media, heaped praise on each other in an unusual joint appearance inside a football stadium in Houston.

To the bhangra beats of four drummers in saffron turbans, Trump in his dark suit and Modi in a yellow kurta and vest made a grand entrance with arms clenched together to ecstatic cheers from a crowd estimated by organizers at 50,000.

Trump won his biggest applause when he told the crowd, many wearing the saffron of India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, “We are committed to protecting innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.”

Taking the flavor of one of Trump’s own boisterous rallies, Modi later asked the crowd to give a standing ovation to Trump for his stance.

Protesters gathered outside of the NRG Stadium with placards and shirts that said, “Free Kashmir” and accused Modi of violating religious freedom — a cause frequently evoked by the Trump administration.

The event — dubbed, with a Texan twang, “Howdy, Modi!” — was billed as the largest gathering ever by a foreign leader other than the pope in the US.

Hoping to ensure that it remains bipartisan, organizers also invited prominent Democrats.

Presidential contender Bernie Sanders, who did not attend, was more direct, saying that Trump showed a “deafening silence” on the clampdown in Kashmir.

“I know that when a president stays silent in the face of religious persecution, repression and brutality, the dangerous message this sends to authoritarian leaders around the world is, ‘Go ahead, you can get away with it,’” Sanders wrote in the Houston Chronicle.

Speaking of his record as if on the campaign trail, Trump made no mention of many Indians’ concerns over US visa policy — but highlighted his efforts to turn back undocumented immigrants from Central America.

Hardly known for his celebrations of ethnic diversity, Trump said to Indian-Americans, “We love you.”

“You enrich our culture, you uphold our values, you uplift our communities and you are truly proud to be American — and we are proud to have you as Americans,” he said.

Sporting a vest in yellow embroidery from Modi’s home state of Gujarat as well as a cap in the Indian tricolor, Bhavin Parikh of Sacramento, California said he wanted to show support for Modi and called the event “historic” due to Trump’s presence.

But he demurred on whether the gathering indicated backing Trump.

“It is not a question of Democrat or Republican. It’s the American president supporting the Indian prime minister,” he said.