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Emergency is a humanitarian NGO that provides emergency medical treatment to civilian victims of war, especially in relation to landmines. It was founded by war surgeon Gino Strada in 1994 in Milan (Italy).
Gino Strada and the other founders of Emergency aimed to bring free, high-quality medical and surgical assistance to war victims. Over time, their humanitarian projects assumed a broader view, including giving human rights to those who suffer the social consequences from wars. Emergency promotes a culture of peace and solidarity.
Emergency strives for neutrality in every war; its aim is to guarantee the right of free medical assistance to the population affected by a war. Today Emergency has active operations in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iraq, Italy, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Emergency’s humanitarian projects usually involve construction, support, and operation of permanent hospitals. However, Emergency has also given short-term emergency assistance to existing hospitals in areas with a critical need for temporary care by providing specialized personnel, drugs or instruments. These short-term projects have included Algeria, Angola, Eritrea, Nicaragua, Palestine and Serbia. As of 2013, more than six million people have received care from Emergency health centers.
How Emergency operates
Emergency begins operations in a specific region or country based on two major factors: the real need of specialized medical assistance from the local population, and the absence of similar humanitarian projects in that given country. Once a project starts, specialized international personnel construct and operate high-quality surgical centers for war and landmines victims, as well as physical and social rehabilitation centers, first aid posts, and health centers for basic medical assistance. Emergency also deals with crippling and endemic diseases like polio and malaria and provides basic health care, not only for war-torn areas, but also for high poverty regions; it also helps the set up of social development projects. Emergency strives to foster cooperation with and provide professional training to the local personnel, so that eventually the facilities run independently.
Emergency has operated in many war-torn zones, including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Sudan. The organization has a policy to build hospitals on both sides of a conflict rather than supporting one or the other; for example, during the Afghan war between the Talibans and the various mujahideen factions of the Afghan Northern Alliance, hospitals were built in Kabul and in the village of Anabah in the Panjshir Valley.
In view of the high incidence of heart disease in African countries and the lack of health care facilities of adequate standards, Emergency built a specialized heart surgery center in Khartoum, Sudan. The aim of this project is to establish a regional center for cardiac surgery, serving the people of Sudan and the nine bordering countries: Egypt, Libya, Chad, the Central African Republic, Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
- Gino Strada, Green Parrots: A War Surgeon's Diary, Charta, 2005, ISBN 978-88-8158-524-3
- Howard Zinn, Just War, Charta, 2006, ISBN 978-88-8158-572-4
- Gino Strada, Pappagalli verdi - Cronache di un chirurgo di guerra, Feltrinelli, 1999, ISBN 88-07-17032-9
- Gino Strada, Buskashì - Viaggio dentro la guerra, Feltrinelli, 2002, ISBN 88-07-17069-8
- Giulietto Chiesa, Vauro, Afghanistan anno zero, Guerini e Associati, 2001, ISBN 88-8335-242-4
- Emergency, Medici di guerra - Inviati di pace, Guerini e Associati, 2002, ISBN 88-8335-319-6
- Vauro, Principessa di Baghdad, Guerini e Associati, 2003, ISBN 88-8335-432-X