Providing physical and spiritual healing to refugees of Middle East conflict.

By August 7, 2006

United Arab Emirates (MNN) — Due to the Middle East conflict, there are more than 1 million displaced people. Those refugees are dispersing elsewhere in Lebanon, to surrounding countries and even as far away as Australia.

Because some Lebanese refugees hold Australian passports, and they were put on flights to Australia, with a stop in the United Arab Emirates to refuel and receive medical care. That’s where CURE International stepped in, says CURE’s David Printy, “We have provided medical care with doctors and nurses so that we could board the planes–they were not allowed off the planes in the UAE–and tend to a number of medical needs on the plane, then decided which passengers could continue on safely and which needed more medical care and had to disembark. And then they were admitted to the hospital for care.”

Many of the refugees on the flights came from the areas of Lebanon that were under the most severe attack. Printy says, because it’s at the height of the conflict, the situation is difficult to deal with, “These are 747’s, so you had over 400 people that were packed in the plane. Obviously there was great fear and anxiety. We had a number of patients that had cardiac problems, hypertension. We did not have, really, what you’d call injuries, but just people in poor health. Some of them had traveled by ships from Lebanon to Cyprus, a bus across Cyprus to another port, another boat to Turkey, a bus to the airport, and then were loaded on. So some of the people had been literally under a forced march for four days.”

They’re seeing people plagued with fear and exhausted by the ongoing struggle, and the CURE workers are addressing those needs. “We had some people, honestly, that were so fearful on the flights, that we really shouldn’t have continued on, but we couldn’t get them off the flights. They thought they might be taken to a prison or they didn’t know what. It was just a level of fear that I’ve never ever experienced, and I’ve been in combat before.”

But Printy says their work goes beyond just the physical needs, “It was just an incredibly challenging situation and I was so pleased that our staff that has the love of Christ in them, was able to move about the plane in a calm and caring manner.”

CURE’s medical personnel will continue meeting needs as evacuation flights continue, but Printy says they’re generally just praying for peace to come and hopes others will as well. “I hope that all of us will approach this with kind of a balanced approach. And that there’s all parties on both sides are in harm’s way, and it’s a tragedy. And I’m just hoping that soon, the fighting can stop and then maybe teams from our hospital and others will be called and we can intervene and bring some physical healing along with ultimately spiritual healing.”

Pray for peace and an end to the fighting. Pray for the more than one million displaced people and many others who are impacted by this war.

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