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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 April, 2003, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Child war victim inspires appeal
Ali Ismail Abbas
Doctors fear time could be running out for Ali

British amputees have helped launch an emergency fund in aid of children maimed in the Iraq war, named after a young boy who lost both arms in a missile attack.

Twelve-year-old Ali Ismail Abbas suffered 60% burns in the attack which destroyed his Baghdad home and killed his family.

The Ali Fund launched on Thursday aims to raise money for both Ali and other injured children and adults in Iraq.

It is a joint venture by the Limbless Association and shadow international development secretary Caroline Spelman.

Men in tears

Already 50,000 has been received by the fund and payment for Ali's treatment has been pledged by the Maharani of Jaipur.

Grown men have been calling the appeal line in tears asking what they could do to help, according to Diana Morgan, chief executive of the Limbless Association.

The war in Iraq has left many children injured
He (Ali) will find that life is very full because he is going to have the support
Sam Gallop, Limbless Association

Ms Morgan, who is herself an amputee after losing both legs in a railway accident 12 years ago, knows how treatment for Ali and other amputees will have to continue through the years.

She was treated at the Association's centre at Queen Mary's Hospital, in Roehampton, south west London, for six months.

She said Ali would need to be bought many new pairs of arms.

'Delighted'

"We don't want to be in a situation where we treat him, give him a new pair of arms and then leave him.

"It is an ongoing process," she said.

Sam Gallop, president of the Limbless Association, was 21 when he arrived at Roehampton in 1944, having lost both legs and suffering from severe burns like Ali.

"I am delighted to be here today to help Ali.

"Ali, like me, will get up with the war every morning but he will find that life is very full because he is going to have the support that I have had."

The Ministry of Defence has been approached about flying Ali to the UK but it is not clear this is the best option, Mrs Spelman said.

Ali is currently being treated in North Baghdad's al-Kindi Hospital which has access only to basic medicines.

Not safe

Doctors fear time could be running out for the boy, whose burns are so severe he risks septicaemia unless he is taken to a hospital with advanced intensive care.

"We have a request in for the MoD to bring him back but a burns victim is very, very vulnerable and he has to be in a stable condition and it has to be safe to transport him," Mrs Spelman said.

Security in the Iraqi capital is not yet safe enough to send immediate aid.

A number of British newspapers have set up funds to help Ali and other victims of the war, after pictures depicted the boy lying helpless in hospital.




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