Journey to Kurdistan – Finally Complete

It has taken a long 13 months. Starting with a generous donation of money, then the offer of a steriliser and neo-natal resuscitation unit from Narribri hospital, in New South Wales, which fitted into a 6×4 trailer, the project has grown to encompass over 9 tonnes of medical equipment and humanitarian aid, and a 40 ft shipping container.

The last month has been the longest. Shipping began with transfer of the container to Port Botany in Sydney from the warehouse in Newcastle, then the generous donation of the shipping cost took it to Mersin, in Turkey. Overland transport to the Kurdish Iraq border where it stopped for 3 weeks waiting for clearance to enter Iraq. Then to a customs warehouse for inspection of the contents, so the container was emptied, and more paperwork was prepared for customs clearance. Several errors meant this had to be repeated twice, with delays each time. And still, the container was not released.

We arrived here 3 days ago to be told there were not 6 Infant Incubators, but 9 of them, so three were not listed. On the second visit to the customs centre we found this was NOT the case, but the problem was with 3 incorrect serial numbers on the incubators … then the first one we inspected had the correct serial number !! The next 2 were wrong – my mistake: I remember writing them down one night when they were in the garage without my glasses. Lesson: wear you glasses!

We have had immense assistance from a range of people to help solve the import problems. Majeed Shukrey and Alan Diyar has been totally committed to getting the container through. Alan has shuttled us around Duhok, translated at customs and took us to Erbil to have a 5 minute meeting with the head of the Kurdistan Medical Control Agency to fix the problem with the serial numbers. The Turkish truck driver has been away from his family for nearly 5 weeks.

It was released from customs on Sunday 3 March at 5pm and an hour later it arrived at Bajed Kandala Camp 2 and we could finally record it arriving as night fell.

After 13 months, the container finally arrives

Journey to Kurdistan

Kim Henley and I are counting down the sleeps until we fly out from Sydney to Erbil, Kurdistan in Northern Iraq…..3 1 more sleeps!
Although we will be based in the city of Duhok, we will travel each day to Bajed Kandala 2 camp (located 20kms east of the Syrian border) and work with NGO Joint Help for Kurdistan. We will be unpacking the 40ft shipping container and helping with distribution of the contents to hospitals in Kurdistan and the families in Bajed Kandala 2 camp.

Attached are some photos of the contents of the 40 ft shipping container – currently sitting in a customs warehouse near Duhok…….we are hoping that these contents will be repacked into the shipping container and be transported into the camp in the next day or two.

Special thanks to Majeed Shukrey and Alan Diyar, in Kurdistan, who are helping us with the shipping container project – we could not do succeed without your help.

See you soon dear friends

FULLY FUNDED: 2 x Oxygen Concentrators for Sinjar Hospital

FANTASTIC NEWS TO SHARE: 25 January, 2019
1. A mobile oxygen concentrator has been donated to Sinjar hospital by a Doctor in Germany – thank you Dr Andreas Gammel. Thank you also to Franz Josef Hoellwarth from Austria, who responded to my urgent request by communicating the need to Dr A. Gammel. Also many thanks Franz for your continuing tireless efforts for the refugees and IDPs in Northern Iraq.
2. Funds have been raised here in Australia to purchase a oxygen concentrator for the Sinjar hospital. Thank you to all the generous donors here in Australia. Special thanks also to Danny Chard from Vital Resus in Newcastle for his generous discounted price.
Both oxygen concentrators will be delivered and in use by March.
Have a beautiful weekend my friends – wherever you are in this incredible world.

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19 January, 2018

Kim and I are travelling to Kurdistan in February, 2019 to help unpack and distribute the contents of the 40ft shipping container we sent at the end of 2018.   I will be coordinating women’s health workshops for 1,300+ women and girls at the Bajed Kandala 2 camp.

I have received an urgent request from Dr Hussein Nasser Ra Sho who works in Sinjar. The Sinjar hospital suffered damage from direct air strikes in 2014 which destroyed 90% of the hospital.  The hospital has not been rebuilt and now Dr Hussein works in the emergency department which has been relocated to what was a previously a primary care medical centre.  It is a small 4 bed facility with another 6 beds for critically ill patients.  They have very little in the way of basic medical equipment. Last year a woman died in childbirth , small premmie babies have died being transported from this facility to hospitals in Mosul, seeking medical help.

Dr Hussein needs an oxgyen concentrator for the emergency department and one for the ambulance.  These are vital pieces of medical equipment that will save lives – from small babies through to the elderly.

When Kim and I travel to Kurdistan we will be able to take the two oxygen concentrators in our luggage and personally deliver to Dr Hussein.  So the challenge is on to raise $4,100 to enable the purchase here in Newcastle in the next few weeks.

Can you help us save the lives of Ezidi people living in terrible conditions in the ruins of Sinjar?  Every donation will help us reach our target in this life saving project.

Donations can be made:

  1. By deposit through any Australian bank or online banking to the account of Operation Hope Australia Ltd.  BSB: 034087  Account Number: 04 5791                         For overseas donors use SWIFT/IBAN Number: WPACAU2S
  2. By paypal or credit card via our webpage: operationhopeaustralia.com               Simply press the donate button
  3. By cheque F/- Operation Hope Australia Ltd.  Mail to 47 Coal Point Rd, Coal Point, New South Wales  2283  Australia

Receipts can be issued if you advise us your email or mailing address

Further information or enquires can be made to Erica Henley, Chairwoman of Operation Hope Australia Ltd +61 2 409 505 945 or operationhopeaust@bigpond.com

Thank you to our supporters

A big thank you to all our wonderful financial supporters. Because of your generous donations we were able to help support new and existing projects at Baged Kandala 2 camp under the leadership of NGO “Joint Help for Kurdistan”….

  • purchase educational resources for the students
  • choose colourful fabric, wool, sewing tables, sewing cupboard, a floor mat and build shelves and a shoe box for the sewing group
  • purchase chairs for the english class students
  • buy bedding and floor mat for a volunteer bedroom
  • build shelves and replace lino in the pharmacy
  • buy a ladder for the medical centre
  • replace a shower, install new taps in kitchen and bathroom areas
  • buy pots and pans, meat cleaver etc for kitchen
  • buy a new office chair for the Laboratory technician
  • send money for a new printer for the medical centre (US$250)
  • send money for final payment on medical centre generator ($US920)
  • send money to buy 1 months supply of medicines for the residents at Bajed Kandala 2 camp ($US2000)

Our humanitarian volunteer, Simon Turner, worked wonders using his building and carpentry skills.  He overcame the language barrier and created some very useful items in the camp.

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Women’s Health

Our own qualified educator, Wafaa Tanius, started the women’s health groups today and over 45 women and girls attended the two sessions. For some, it was the first time they had ever heard anyone speak about their bodies and women’s health issues.
Thank you to the Hervey Bay ‘Days for Girls’ chapter for providing Wafaa with 106 kits to hand out after these workshops.

We have a further 2,199 kits from Queensland and New South Wales coming here to Kurdistan in the shipping container.

Thank you to ‘Joint Help for Kurdistan’ nurse Amina H Juno for her translating skills and support for these women’s groups.