Home News Rima’s journey: Prosthetic provides Syrian new begin after February earthquake | Turkey-Syria Earthquake Information

Rima’s journey: Prosthetic provides Syrian new begin after February earthquake | Turkey-Syria Earthquake Information

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Rima’s journey: Prosthetic provides Syrian new begin after February earthquake | Turkey-Syria Earthquake Information

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Azaz, Syria – Together with her smile as shiny as ever, 15-year-old Rima Haj Hussein nervously walks into the Ataa Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Limb Centre for earthquake and warfare victims in Azaz, a city in northern Syria’s Aleppo governorate.

She lately celebrated passing her preparatory degree exams, and her delight in pushing by after dropping her leg within the large earthquakes that hit southern Turkey and northern Syria six months in the past is obvious.

“When the examination outcomes have been introduced, I used to be particularly glad that I fulfilled part of my father’s want for me. He at all times inspired me to proceed my training,” she mentioned.

Rima had spent two months in a hospital close to the Turkish border, asking her surviving household the place her father was.

“I requested time and again why he didn’t come to go to me within the hospital, and they’d dodge the query, saying his well being situation prevented him from coming. Till I left the hospital and so they advised me … the shock of that second won’t ever go away me,” Rima mentioned, having discovered that her father had died within the earthquakes.

Rima is helped out of her wheelchair by her uncle
Rima arrives on the Ataa Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Limb Centre in her wheelchair, hoping to obtain a brand new prosthetic after dropping her leg in February’s devastating earthquakes [Ali Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

Fleeing into an earthquake zone

Rima and her household – initially from the town of Qalaat al-Madiq, northern Hama – had fled to opposition-controlled Jandaris within the Aleppo countryside in 2019 after Syrian authorities forces took management of their hometown.

A bit of greater than three years later, Jandaris was the Syrian metropolis most affected by the earthquakes, recording the very best Syrian demise toll of 513 fatalities and 831 wounded, in keeping with the Syria Civil Defence. Greater than 8,400 individuals died in Syria, with one other 50,000 dying in Turkey.

When the earthquake affecting Rima hit within the early hours of February 6, she and her household weren’t capable of open their condominium door in time and located themselves buried within the rubble when the constructing collapsed.

“After 30 hours of concern, buried below the rubble of our dwelling, surrounded by neighbours who died, the rescue groups and my uncles managed to discover a passage by the rubble and reached me,” she mentioned.

Rima advised Al Jazeera how the rescue groups and her uncles tried each doable solution to extract her from below the rubble, however they have been unable to because of her leg, which was trapped. Ultimately, a medical group needed to amputate her leg earlier than she could possibly be freed.

“I had two selections: both lose my life below the rubble or lose my leg. I selected to lose my leg,” Rima mentioned.

After she was lastly capable of go away the hospital and nonetheless reeling from the information about her father’s demise, Rima had to return in for one more surgical procedure, this time to take away her gallbladder.

And but, she managed to collect her energy and examine for her exams, which have been solely 10 days away, whereas the group on the Ataa centre labored to create a bespoke prosthetic for her.

“Rima’s resilience, in addition to her dedication to proceed her research and take the examination, have been an amazing supply of inspiration for all of us throughout this era,” mentioned Khalid Haj Hussein, 54, Rima’s uncle and a arithmetic instructor.

Haj Hussein advised Al Jazeera that Rima had talked typically of eager to grow to be a health care provider, particularly whereas she was within the hospital, so he devoted himself to tutoring her on arithmetic for the examination and requested his colleagues to assist her with different topics.

“The enjoyment and delight I felt when my niece Rima succeeded have been past something I had skilled throughout my 33 years of educating. She achieved the not possible,” he mentioned.

A technician working on a prosthetic leg on a workbench
The Ataa centre has been capable of match prosthetic limbs for 30 earthquake victims since February [Ali Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

Standing tall once more

Rima’s reddened eyes mirror a sleepless evening of tension and anticipation, however her pleasure is obvious as she places on her prosthetic leg and tries it out for the primary time.

“Travelling backwards and forwards to Azaz wasn’t simple, however we did it for this second, as a result of she has been eagerly wanting ahead to standing as soon as once more,” mentioned Haj Hussein.

“Her pleasure is overwhelming, and he or she retains telling me that she is going to quickly stand like everybody else and pursue her dream of turning into a health care provider, simply as her father wished.”

Rima tries on her new leg as her doctor observes
The trouble to make Rima’s prosthetic was slowed by the shortage of superior gear [Ali Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

One of many individuals who labored on Rima’s case is Ahmed Hashem, social initiatives coordinator at Ataa. Whereas the centre suffers from an absence of funding and shortage of supplies, he mentioned, it was necessary to them to get as many Syrian amputees as doable fitted with the prosthetics they want.

Hashem advised Al Jazeera that the centre has been capable of match prosthetic limbs for 30 earthquake victims who registered by the centre’s hyperlink for many who misplaced their higher or decrease limbs.

The becoming course of is a painstaking one made trickier by the shortage of superior modelling know-how, leaving the group to depend on medical commentary and measurement and making cautious moulds by hand.

“The rise in amputations within the area after the earthquake has put immense strain on the centre, making it difficult to safe prosthetic limbs for all of the injured,” mentioned Hashem.

“We hope that with time, we are able to discover what we have to make prosthetics for all of the injured and develop our work to incorporate becoming sensible and mechanical prosthetics,” Hashem added.

Earlier than the Syria-Turkey earthquakes, the variety of Syrian amputees was documented at 86,000 in 2017, in keeping with the World Well being Group, whose report mentioned that the anticipate assist then was already a protracted one. Along with these figures are the Syrians who dwell with everlasting disabilities, who quantity at the least 1.5 million individuals.

However for in the future, there may be pleasure in a single family as Rima, beaming, walks out of Ataa centre after arriving in her wheelchair – taking her first steps on her model new leg, striding ahead to her subsequent problem.

Rima walking out of the Staa Center
Rima – proud of the match of her new prosthetic – strides out of the Ataa Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Limb Centre together with her uncle [Ali Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

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