Warm-hearted United Arab Emirates

Text: Capt. Monika Bliks - Photos: Sgt. Alan Mitchell

Dr. Jeddzka Ahli treating a patient.

With great effort and warm care the KFOR United Arab Emirates have provided health care, homes and school equipment to Serb and Albanian communities in Kosovo. Needless to say, this has been greatly appreciated by all those benefited.

Exotic, Arab music coming from an unknown sound source somewhere in the camp can be heard as you arrive at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Headquarters in Vucitrn, close to Mitrovica north west of Pristina City.

"Our main missions are to provide a safe and secure environment for the inhabitants of Kosovo as well as contributing to the reconstruction and the humanitarian aid needed in the area," explained the UAE Representative in Kosovo, Col. Saif Alnaydi.

Being spread out on 6 different camps in Multi National Brigade (MNB) North, their battle group consisting of 1,200 soldiers has made its mark in the local communities through long term work with humanitarian aid. The KFOR UAE soldiers are also reinforcing the American Multi National Brigade East by providing special forces and airforce groups with Apache helicopters.

UAE Soldiers on a HMMWV prepared for patrol.

Busy field hospital

Back at the field hospital the doctors and nurses have their hands full treating soldiers and locals for different diseases. Economically build with modern equipment, a wide range of medical cases can be treated.

"During the past year, we have received and given medical attention to almost 74,000 patients, and of course we treat both Serb and Albanian Kosovars," explained Dr. Omar Al-Khaldi, who was proud to present the facilities and the hardworking personnel.

In the accident unit, a young boy got his leg treated for a fracture after a fall one week earlier. Coming late for treatment can cause complications, but the doctor assured him that he would be all right. The accident unit with the general clinic is the most visited one at the hospital, more than 20,000 patients were treated here during one year.

One female doctor manages the dentist office, treating 25 to 30 patients each day.

"The oral hygiene is in general pretty bad in Kosovo, and most of the patients have to get instructions and fillings," explained Dr. Jeddzka Ahli while treating a patient.

UAE soldier manning a Check Point (CP).

Generous contributions

Every month the KFOR UAE battle group sends on average 12 patients with special needs to hospitals in the United Arab Emirates or to other destinations in Europe for further treatment, on the Arab's account.

Twelve humanitarian organisations coming from the Emirates are working in the area under the supervision of the Red Crescent. During the 70 flights that have come so far, medical equipment, reconstruction material, school supplies and food for a cost of 15 million US dollars have been provided through these organisations.

"Through our CIMIC projects (Civilian Military Cooperation) we have already repaired and built a total of 1,000 houses in addition to school constructions for those who can not afford to do this by themselves," explained Col. Saif Alnaydi.

Being responsible for seven different Serb enclaves in their area of responsibility, with the need of constant protection and escorts, the KFOR UAE soldiers will not be put out of work during their mission in Kosovo.