As global logistics managers know, the world is seeing the greatest displacement of peoples for over half a century. Indeed, millions are fleeing from war, persecution and poverty, while the proliferation of crises and needs is becoming extraordinary as are the dramatic humanitarian consequences.
In these desperate situations, fleeing families are at the mercy of unscrupulous traffickers and the perils of the journey to what they hope will be freedom and a new life.
The Order of Malta is present along this journey – in countries of origin, at the borders through which thousands pass, and in host countries and final destinations – assisting refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants in approximately 30 countries across the globe. Refugees fleeing Syria are met at the Malteser International field hospital in Kilis on the Turkish border.
The hospital has 100 beds and is equipped for emergency surgery. Thanks to its cooperation with local partners, Malteser International supports nine healthcare centers including three mobile clinics in the Aleppo region in Syria.
In northern Iraq, Malteser International has launched a program for the reintegration of refugees in their countries of origin, including many persecuted minorities such as the Yazidi. The project also involves the reconstruction of infrastructure and support for training and educational courses. In central Iraq, medical teams provide healthcare and dental services to displaced persons.
Since 2008 the doctors and rescuers of the Order of Malta’s Italian Relief Corps have been present on Italian vessels operating in the Mediterranean Sea, assisting some 200,000 migrants attempting the crossing on makeshift boats. These are medical teams specialized in emergency medicine.
Humanitarian logistics employed in various European countries by the Order of Malta is developing legal, psychosocial and medical assistance programs for migrants and asylum seekers.
There are also specific courses to aid integration and knowledge of the local culture and language. And one might maintain that logistics has become the lingua franca for most of these relief efforts as well. By working closely with groups like The Order of Malta, we can make a difference that will be meaningful and sustainable.
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