"We have been given a second chance at life"
For 39-year-old Sharbel, making his way from Libya to Europe was more than a matter of personal safety: “My wife had cancer,” he explains. “She was dying, and there was no equipment in Libya to treat her.”
Sharbel left Syria with his wife and their two children at the beginning of the conflict, settling down in Libya.
“My wife, Suha, had bone cancer,” Sharbel says. “She had chemotherapy treatment, which helped initially.
“Then she got sick again and the doctors told us the cancer is back. There was no treatment available for us in Libya – we didn’t know what to do.”
Desperate, Sharbel sought the help of International Medical Corps, who together with UNHCR work to identify those in need of international protection and to complete registration procedures for refugees in Libya.
The International Medical Corps team immediately took all the information related to Suha’s sickness and started the necessary preparations to help the family travel to a country where they could get all the necessary treatments.
International Medical Corps was among the first to respond to the crisis created by the 2011 war in Libya, just days after the first uprising in Benghazi, and has been working to restore vital healthcare infrastructure and eliminating major gaps in healthcare ever since.
Over the years, International Medical Corps has provided more than 110,000 medical consultations, deployed 267 health professionals, trained around 2,500 health workers and delivered around 200 tons of medicines, supplies and medical equipment to key health facilities across Libya.
With support from the European Union, International Medical Corps is also supporting hundreds of thousands people forced from their homes by war and conflict to gain access to basic health services.
Today Sharbel lives with his family in the Netherlands.
“My wife has been able to resume treatment – we have been given a second chance at life.