According to a report by Vatican News, over 100 severely injured Palestinian children from Gaza are set to receive medical treatment in Italy.
Coordinated by the Vicar of the Custody of the Holy Land, Father Ibrahim Faltas, this project is a joint effort between the Italian government, Egyptian authorities, and Israeli authorities.
The endeavor comes in response to the dire need for specialized medical care for children who sustained severe injuries during the recent bombings and fighting in Gaza. Recognizing the challenges in providing adequate treatment within Gaza, the initiative aims to transport these children to various pediatric hospitals across Italy.
The logistics of the project involve transporting the children from Gaza to Italy via Egypt. They will be flown to Rome’s Ciampino airport before being admitted to different Italian pediatric hospitals for treatment. The meticulous planning of this operation, carried out over the past two weeks, has been marked by discreet coordination and overcoming numerous challenges.
Father Faltas, deeply involved in charitable pastoral activities, has been instrumental in facilitating the project. He emphasized his longstanding relationships in Italy and Gaza, which paved the way for swift collaboration with Italian government institutions. The initiative required intensive mediation involving Israeli, Palestinian, and Egyptian authorities.
Initially conceived for two groups of 50 children each, the project expanded to accommodate three groups totaling 120 children. Some children will travel aboard the hospital ship ‘Vulcano,’ concluding its mission in Al-Arish. However, the departure dates remain uncertain pending agreements on accompanying companions. Efforts are also underway to secure additional hospital facilities, with Puglia and San Marino hospitals, and the University of Perugia offering their support.
Upon arrival in Italy, the Bambino Gesù Hospital will oversee the reception and distribution of children to various medical facilities, including Gaslini in Genoa, Meyer in Florence, and Rizzoli in Bologna.
Tiziano Onesti, President of Bambino Gesù Hospital, underscored the importance of providing care and solace to children amidst international crises. He emphasized the hospital’s commitment to extending its services to children worldwide, emphasizing the significance of nurturing hope for the future.
In a statement, Onesti affirmed, “Taking care of children means taking care of the future. It means witnessing that a future is possible.” He reiterated the hospital’s dedication to its mission as a pediatric institution, echoing Pope Francis’s call for tangible acts of charity and mercy.
This humanitarian effort not only addresses the immediate medical needs of injured children but also serves as a beacon of peace and solidarity in tumultuous times. By leveraging international cooperation and leveraging existing networks, the initiative exemplifies the power of collective compassion in alleviating suffering and fostering hope for a better future.
As preparations for the children’s journey continue, stakeholders remain committed to ensuring a smooth and successful operation.