Two young Syrian-Palestinian brothers will arrive in Italy from Lebanon through an urgent humanitarian corridor organized by Mediterranean Hope Refugees and Migrants Programme, the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI) and the Waldensian Diaconate. The younger of the two brothers, identified as M.Z., 22, is seriously ill with leukemia. His older brother, M., 33, will donate marrow for a transplant that will take place at Padova Hospital. The brothers are expected to arrive in Rome this week for the operation and subsequent treatments.
'We hope the operation has the desired outcome'
Dr. Luciano Griso, Mediterranean Hope's health director, said the transfer is the conclusion of a complex operation which the organization is hoping will result in full clinical success. "On the one hand, there is the young man, who has been fighting very courageously for his life since July against an aggressive form of acute leukemia that hasn't responded to treatment. On the other hand is the Mediterranean Hope team, both in Lebanon and in Rome, working against time to give the young man the chance to reach Italy in the condition to be treated with good probabilities for success," Griso said.
Paolo Naso, coordinator for Mediterranean Hope, expressed gratitude to "the Italian authorities, who have followed this particularly urgent case with us." Naso added, "Now we hope the operation has the desired outcome, that the young man can be not only saved but also that his health improves in a stable way that can give him a better future. As FCEI we will allow the two young men to stay in Italy for all the time needed for treatments, and beyond, just as for all of the people welcomed thanks to humanitarian corridors. 'He who saves a life saves the whole world' is the motto of the corridors and we believe in it more and more."
'Legal access to Europe needed'
"This story confirms the need for a legal and safe way to access Europe for migrants and asylum seekers in conditions of vulnerability," Naso said. "It's been the way of the successful humanitarian corridors thus far in Italy, France, and Belgium, but with still too-limited numbers. That's why there must be new and broader humanitarian corridors created by European countries more willing to accommodate and protect human rights," he said.
At the end of March, more people from Lebanon will arrive in Rome through a humanitarian corridor sponsored by FCEI and the Community of Sant'Egidio.