UOSSM USA was recently awarded two grants by Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) for the support of two food insecurity projects in Cincinnati, Ohio. With rising prices across the nation, many families are struggling just to keep up. Consequently, securing healthy food is no longer a priority in the face of rising costs. But with the support of IRUSA, UOSSM USA has been helping these families overcome the challenge of food insecurity.
During the holy month of Ramadan (April), UOSSM USA partnered with the Islamic Association of Cincinnati (IAC) – Clifton Mosque to distribute 80 food baskets to 75 vulnerable families through its food pantry. These food baskets were comprised of food essentials such as meat, bread, beans, rice, lentils, and dates, needed to keep families healthy.
During the month of Dhul Hijjah (July), UOSSM USA partnered with Casablanca Market in Cincinnati to distribute close to 1,400 pounds of Adahi/Qurbani (lamb) meat to 184 vulnerable families.
Since 2018, UOSSM has been distributing food essentials in Syria and Jordan to families in need. The nutrition provided helps protect their health by building strength and immunity through nutrition ultimately aiding in warding off disease. UOSSM USA is now leading similar efforts in local communities within the US.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, President of UOSSM USA expressed: “It was wonderful to partner with Islamic Relief USA and our local partners for these food insecurity projects that are so needed right here in our Cincinnati community. UOSSM USA has been doing this type of work for many years for needy, displaced, refugee, and underserved families in areas of crisis such as Syria and Jordan, but thanks to the generous support of Islamic Relief USA and that of our local partners, we are able to bring this type of humanitarian relief to our local communities. We are helping to strengthen the health and overall wellbeing of these families. But more importantly, we are giving these families not only hope, but also the dignity to persevere.”
Edinburg, TX – On Friday, August 19, 15 civilians were killed, including five children, and over 30 others were injured, including at least 11 children, in military attacks on a popular market, a school, and civilian homes in Al Bab in northern Syria. The school and homes were significantly damaged.
Many displaced families live in Al Bab after seeking refuge from major attacks in 2018-2019. Al Bab is one of the largest cities in the eastern countryside of Aleppo.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, president of UOSSM USA said, “Our hearts go out to the victims and their families of these heinous crimes against innocent civilians. Over the years, Al Bab has been the subject of several military bombings and attacks, an area where displaced families have moved to as a last resort fleeing violence. We just commemorated the ninth year since the chemical attack in Ghouta and civilians continue to be targeted to this day. We call on the international community to put a stop to attacks on civilians and civilian areas, and to hold the perpetrators accountable.”
Attacks on civilian areas leave 15 dead including 5 children.
UOSSM has been responding to the crisis in Ukraine by providing expertise gained from over 10 years of war in Syria through medical missions and training. On April 2 -12, UOSSM, in partnership with British renowned war doctor, Dr. David Nott of the David Nott Foundation, led a surgical medical mission, providing training workshops to doctors, and critical surgeries to patients affected by the war in Ukraine. Dr. David Nott, Dr. Monzer Yazji, Dr. Ahmad Dbais and Dr. Mohammed Zaidiye all contributed and coordinated in the surgical medical mission.
Throughout the 10 days, the medical mission team visited seven major hospitals throughout several geographical locations in eastern, central, and western Ukraine, where complex reconstructive and plastic surgeries were performed on victims of attacks. 40 doctors observed and received trainings during the surgeries. In addition, three workshops were provided to over 37 doctors with different surgical specialties. The workshops taught doctors about damage and impact on the human body from different types of weapons during war, different types of trauma resulting from these weapons, and response handling these injuries including damage control, emergency surgery, and plastic and reconstructive surgery.
A new surgical medical mission is being planned in June to provide support to the doctors and people of Ukraine.
Dr. David Nott wrote on his foundation page about his visit in Ukraine, “Now having seen the devastation, it feels like the exact same tactics as in Syria. When I was in Aleppo in 2016, the whole region was completely and utterly destroyed. What we’re seeing in cities like Mariupol – the destruction – feels very similar to what I witnessed in Aleppo.”
UOSSM Ukraine was established in Ukraine with an office in Lutsk and two medical clinics, one in Lviv and one in Lutsk, providing urgent medical care to displaced Ukrainians and vital trainings to doctors and medical staff.
Dr. Monzer Yazji, co-founder of UOSSM USA said, “As Dr. Nott and I were visiting hospitals in Ukraine, we witnessed very similar severe injuries to the ones we witnessed in Syria. It was harrowing to see this type of history repeat itself and victims with the same types of horrible injuries. Our duty is to help the innocent civilians by providing them with urgent medical care, and support doctors by providing medical training on handling war-related injuries that they desperately need. The duty of the international community is to ensure that these types of attacks are never repeated again, anywhere in the world.”
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Edinburg, TX – A UOSSM international relief team, composed of Syrian/American doctors, arrived in Ukraine earlier last week to begin relief efforts. UOSSM doctors are uniquely positioned to support aid efforts in Ukraine having operated under similar conflict conditions in Syria for the past 10 years including war wounds/injuries, displacement, chemical attacks and a major humanitarian crisis.
UOSSM already opened a field office, is operating a humanitarian relief station in Lviv for food and necessities, and a medical point in Lutsk. In addition, UOSSM is working to set up a field medical facility in Kiev. Dr. Monzer Yazji, a Syrian American doctor, cofounder of UOSSM/UOSSM USA, and leader of the mission, has been triaging some wounded patients, stabilizing them, and providing medicines in the Lutsk medical point.
The UN documented several targeted airstrike attacks on medical facilities in Syria by Russian forces, that killed countless medical workers including several UOSSM staff members. Now, the same horrors and war crimes witnessed in Syria are being documented in Ukraine, such as the bombing of the Mariupol hospital.
Dr. Yazji said, “UOSSM was a leading voice in documenting and exposing these war crimes to the world. The relentless airstrikes on cities, the opening of humanitarian corridors, and the subsequent attack of them was reminiscent of what we witnessed in Syria as well. We implore the international community to make this time different.”
Displaced Ukrainian civilians, many are children.
Dr. Yazji added, “The latest headlines are that the Syrian Regime is sending fighters to support Russia’s invasion. We want Ukrainians and the world to know that Syrians have also experienced the same barbarism, and Syrians doctors today are there to utilize everything they have learned to support their medical and relief efforts in the field.”
UOSSM was founded in response to the Syrian crisis. Since 2012, UOSSM has been providing emergency care and relief, medical care and relief, mental healthcare, psychosocial support services, protection and nutrition services to millions of displaced and needy families affected by the crisis.
Dr. Monzer Yazji is on the ground in Ukraine and available for interview- in person/virtual.
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UOSSM USA IS A FEDERALLY TAX-EXEMPT NON-PROFIT 501(C)(3) CHARITABLE HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION. TAX ID 47-3403988