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Story Publication logo March 28, 2016

Reporter's Notebook: A Child's Trauma—Being Buried in Your Own Home


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Solaad Nader walks her six-year-old son, Omar, back to their home after being evaluated by Brookfield pediatric neurologist Tarif Bakdash. The family with their four children survived their house being bombed in Syria and Omar had to be dug out from the rubble. They have been at the camp slightly more than three years. Image by Mark Hoffman. Jordan, 2016.

ZAATARI REFUGEE CAMP, Jordan—Omar was only 3 years old when his family's house in Daraa was struck by a bomb.

His mother, pregnant at the time, grabbed one child; his father grabbed another. When they arrived outside, coated in dust and debris, they realized Omar was still inside. They found him under some rubble, alive and scared.

It is a story doctors hear too often at a medical clinic run by the Syrian American Medical Society inside the Zaatari refugee camp. And it brings a unique kind of trauma.

An unseen enemy buries you in your own house.

"He suffered a lot," Omar's mother said of the child who is now 6.

His shelter, the place that was once protection, collapsed on him and almost took his life.


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