Friday, January 22, 2010

New Haiti Blog

Please visit the newly created IMANA-Haiti Blog for further articles and posts regarding the current relief mission in Haiti. Many team members of the Gaza 2009 relief mission are also helping save lives in Haiti.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Register to Volunteer

IMANA Relief Haiti Volunteer Form is now available online.

Click here to volunteer.

Dedicated Doctor Saving Lives in Haiti

Michelle Stuhr of KPTH 44 News (Sioux City, IA) reports:

Text by Erika Thomas of KPTH:
(SIOUX CITY, IA) A powerful 6.1 magnitude aftershock rocked Haiti Wednesday, a week after the first deadly earthquake. Still, St. Luke's Emergency Room physician Rick Colwell is packing his bags for the island. The dedicated doctor who goes in as everyone else gets out.

Dr. Rick Colwell is no stranger to packing - Haiti will be his third trip abroad to help victims of devastation.

"You have kind of a sense of what, how much you can do. You always leave feeling like you didn't do enough," says Dr. Rick Colwell.

As part of IMANA - the Islamic Medical Association of North America - Dr. Colwell saved lives after the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and in Gaza last year.

"You walk away from there but they don't. Whether you help them or save them, they're still there," says Dr. Colwell.

He will now use those experiences, along with eight other IMANA doctors, to help people fighting to survive in Haiti.

"I think the hardest part will just be the great human tragedy," says Dr. Colwell. "You want to get right in there and save the world today but it doesn't generally happen like that."

A lead group returned Tuesday night after working through the initial devastation.

"But smaller, more flexible organizations can get right into the community and start helping people right away," says Dr. Colwell.

This second wave of doctors will have to fight infection to save lives.

"You try to help everyone. And you try to save the ones that you can," says Dr. Colwell.

It takes a special person to run in when everyone else is running out. but one person can make a difference, no matter how big or small.

"Everybody has something to give," says Dr. Colwell.

Dr. Colwell and his team leave Sunday and will return home on Saturday, January 30th.

For more information about IMANA or to donate to Haitian relief efforts:

Reported by Erika Thomas. You can contact her at

Friend her on Facebook at

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sioux City Doctor Headed to Haiti

KTIV Channel 4 of Sioux City reports:

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - A Sioux City doctor is answering the call for relief in Haiti. Rick Colwell leaves for a six day mission to the earthquake ravaged region on Sunday.

The trip will mark Colwell's third humanitarian effort overseas. He went to Gaza in 2009. He also visited Pakistan in 2005 after an earthquake struck that region.

Colwell is the only mid-west member of the Islamic Medical Assistants of North America, a group comprised of E-R docs like himself, as well as an anesthesiologist and even a plastic surgeon.

He's traveling to Haiti to help more than just the emergency needs of earthquake victims.

"In a country as poor as Haiti, you have a lot of chronic illness. Those people are still sick, the ones that lived, they're still sick. They have no where to go," he explains.

Colwell says getting to Haiti is a "logistical nightmare" for groups like his. It's important for them to be set-up ahead of time so they don't become part of the problem when they arrive.

Luckily, humanitarian groups are closely connected and they were able to find a permanent relief camp in Haiti that will allow them set-up their own base.

AMMG Called On Again to Aid Haiti


Completing Successful Humanitarian Mission to Gaza: AMMG Called On Again to Aid Earthquake Victims in Haiti

Washington DC (Jan 5, 2010) – Completing a successful mission to Gaza last year to medically assist with the humanitarian crisis left by war in the region - American Medical Mission to Gaza (AMMG) is once again deploying physicians to aid humanitarian efforts - this time to the island nation of Haiti after recent earthquake devastated the country.

“We are learning that the type of injuries that Haitians have sustained are not different from those that of the Gazans received from the military assault last year.” Commented Ismail Mehr, Anesthesiologist from Hornell, New York who is also leading the mission.

“A lot of the cases we have heard about - crushed limbs that require amputation, infections that need treatment and other medical necessities are all specific type of medical services that we provided in Gaza last year because of the air-strikes.”AMMG has assembled a group of physicians - providing medical resources in the form of care, assistance and advocacy to help those in needs. The group has been deployed to several nations including Pakistan, Indonesia and recently to the war torn region of Gaza.

Multiple AMMG physicians have already been deployed to Haiti, having arrived on January 17th and including Dr.Irfan Galaria.

Physicians will be rotated every ten days in groups - with the second team being lead by Dr. Ismail Mehr departing on January 24th.

AMMG is collaborating with Islamic Medical Association of North American (IMANA) and consolidating resources to fully maximizing humanitarian efforts.

“We have experience working under difficult circumstances and are very familiar with the type of injuries reported and feel we can contribute substantively to the humanitarians efforts on the ground in Haiti. Its not only our obligation as Muslims - but our duty as fellow human beings."

You can follow Dr. Ismail Mehr and the rest of the AMMG team on their mission at:

Help contribute to the humanitarian efforts:

More Information about IMANA at:

Monday, January 18, 2010

AMMG in Haiti

At press time, AMMG has several physicians on the ground in Haiti, helping provide medical assistance to those affected by the devastating earthquake a few days ago. They are working in conjunction with IMANA Relief and other aid organizations. Details to follow.

Technical Difficulties

Unfortunately due to reasons beyond our control, the blog was offline for the past few months. We apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Doctor Shares Experiences of Gaza Relief Work

Lily Oberman of the Ithacan Online reports:

Dr. Ismail Mehr, an anesthesiologist for St. James Mercy Hospital in Hornell, N.Y., traveled to Gaza in January 2009 to give aid to its citizens following attacks on the city. Mehr shared his experience and showed slides of his relief work tonight in a presentation called “Gaza’s Dilemma.” The event was sponsored by Ithaca College’s Students for Justice in Palestine, who also brought Mehr to Ithaca College in April.

Beth Harris, associate professor of politics, said she thought the presentation was educational.

“I hope that people who come tonight will get a different picture of what’s going on in Gaza,” she said.

Andrea Levine ’09, who helped bring Mehr to the college in April, said she thinks Mehr’s presentations are always eye-opening.

“Mehr doesn’t just talk about the normal effects of war,” she said. “He educates the public on not just the effects of the attack, [but] normal everyday health problems [of the region].”

Mehr began the presentation by giving a brief history of Palestine. He then showed slides, many of which included his own photos from his 10-day trip to Gaza, providing narration of his trip as he went along.

Mehr traveled to Gaza after a three-week- long war in which Gaza was attacked. The trip was sponsored by the Islamic Medical Association of North America, an organization that Mehr is a member of.

“[The president of IMANA] said the board of directors wanted to try to put a team in Gaza to help provide medical aid,” Mehr said. “I had been on multiple missions before, and they asked me if I would lead this team.”

Mehr had been to places such as Pakistan and Indonesia following natural disasters to provide aid. He said he didn’t hesitate when asked to go to Gaza.

“There was no internal struggle at all,” he said. “I felt that if I said ‘No,’ I would be breaking a promise to myself that if I ever had the opportunity to go and do relief missions again that I would.”

Mehr then gathered a team of 11 doctors, along with two others who helped organize the trip. The group arrived in Gaza on Jan. 22.

“[When] we arrived there, we saw convoys and trucks and aid and people from Portugal, from Cuba, from Canada, from Germany, from the Netherlands, South Africa,” Mehr said. “They’d been waiting there for days and [kept] being turned away.”

The AMMG were denied entrance on the first day, after being told that no more doctors were needed in Gaza and that the borders were closed for the day. Finally, a member of the group called someone who worked at the border and enabled the group to sneak in.

Mehr then showed photographs of destruction that he took when the group entered the city.

“These photos are one-dimensional,” he said. “The destruction was all around us.”

Out of the 13 hospitals in Gaza, five were destroyed in the attacks and many others were damaged. The AMMG went to work in the Shifa Hospital, the only untouched hospital.

Mehr said the hospital was lacking even basic supplies and that the majority of people his group treated were dealing with routine illnesses, such as pneumonia and diabetes. They also worked with cancer patients who could not receive chemotherapy because of the blockade. Some of the slides that Mehr showed included photos of a jaundiced 4-year-old with liver cancer being treated by doctors and a football-sized kidney of a boy whose kidney should have been smaller than a fist. Mehr said he particularly wanted to work with children because he has two young children at home.

In their free time, the AMMG went to the local orphanage. Two doctors from the group stayed at the orphanage over the course of the entire 10-day trip, giving routine health checks to the children. Mehr shared a story about a man who routinely visited the orphanage and returned to visit the children the day after his house was destroyed and his family killed.

“That story got to me,” Harris said. “No one should have to have this kind of resilience.”

Rachel Gunderson ’09 said the presentation was laid out in an effective way.

“Some of the stories were gruesome, but it was influential,” she said.

Mehr said he hopes people walk away from his presentation with the ability to form their own opinions about the politics of the Gaza region.

“I hope they are able to go, read and learn about the realities of Palestine in general,” he said.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

Painted Post NY to Have Gaza Awareness Event

Dr. Ismail Mehr will present a talk with slides of his American Medical Mission Trip to Gaza on

Thursday May 7th
7pm at the
First Baptist Church in
Painted Post, NY

Dr. Ismail Mehr's presentation
~ “Gaza's Dilemma” ~ will cover the medical and humanitarian aspects of Gaza as it relates to the recent war & the effects of the 20 month embargo.

Dr. Mehr is a board certified anesthesiologist and Chairman of the Department at St. James Mercy Hospital in Hornell NY. He has been an active member of IMANA (Islamic Medical Association of North America) for the past 7 years and a member of the humanitarian medical relief committee.

Following the Gaza war last December and January, Dr. Mehr was called upon by IMANA to be the coordinator as well as team leader. Please join us to learn about Dr. Ismail Mehr's humanitarian medical relief work in Gaza, his first experience in a war torn region.

Before his trip to Gaza, Dr. Mehr was fortunate enough to go to Indonesia shortly following the devastating tsunami of December 2004. In addition, he traveled to northern Pakistan in October 2005, when an earthquake rocked the region. He was the team leader for the first IMANA relief team and oversaw the relief efforts for the next several months acting as the North American Coordinator.

Corning Vicinity Faith Communities,
Peaceful Gatherings and the
Southern Tier Interfaith Coalition
are sponsors of this event.