“I cried, ” admits Raed without shame. A grown man in his late 50s, Raed works hard to support and maintain his family in Midan, a poor district in Aleppo, which during a recent and long battle was among the most affected by the bombings.
The bullets did not spare him either. They traveled through his body and can still be found in his shoulder, lung and liver. The bullets have been there for a while because to remove them, Raed would need an operation he cannot afford. He had to learn to live with them. Now a painful hernia keeps him up at night and forced him to stay in bed for weeks. A new health issue that is separate from the bullets. During the Aleppo siege recently, when water was scarce, Raed had to transport heavy containers of drinking water from the collection sites to his home. At home and waiting for him were his 5-year-old daughter and wife.
"I couldn’t hold back the tears of joy when the doctors gave me the news", explains Raed. “Finally, I will be operated. I waited for my turn for too long".
Raed’s tears are not a surprise in Syria, where to get an operation, even the most simple of operations, is almost impossible. The last report published in November by the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) confirms the reality of the ceaseless health crisis. Less than half of the hospital structures are still fully functional, which is clearly not enough to treat the over 11 million Syrian currently in need of care. This dramatic statistic is the result of the constant bombing of the health facilities, the fleeing of most doctors and nurses, and the difficulty in finding medicine.
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