Last year, Emergency joined the “People’s Vaccine” campaign, a gathering of health and humanitarian associations and individuals lobbying to ensure free Covid-19 vaccines are made available to all.
The day he died, as Taliban forces advanced into Afghanistan, the Turin daily La Stampa published an op-ed on the front page of Dr. Strada, who had lived in the country occasionally for seven years.
“Twenty years ago we said this war would be a disaster for everyone,” he wrote. “Today the result of that aggression is before our eyes: a failure from every point of view. More than 241,000 victims and five million displaced.” Afghanistan, he wrote, is “a devastated country, and those who can will try to escape and endure hell to arrive in Europe,” when only arms manufacturers have benefited from the war.
David Lloyd Webber, a spokesman for the emergency in Britain, said on Wednesday that the Emergency’s Surgical Center for War Victims in Kabul “has been exceptionally busy in recent days”.
Emergency was conceived in late 1993 by Dr. Strada, his wife and friends and colleagues around the couple’s kitchen table in Milan. The organization’s first project began the following year, in Rwanda. Other projects followed, including a pediatric ward in the Central African Republic, a war surgery program in the besieged city of Misrata, Libya, and two Ebola treatment centers in Sierra Leone. Emergency also set up maternity centres, clinics and first aid posts.
In addition, it has projects in Italy to help people on the margins, often immigrants, and has launched a campaign called “Nobody Left Behind” to help Italians who have lost their jobs or businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The organization raised 48.6 million euros ($56.7 million) in 2020, mostly from individual donors, although funding from institutions and foundations has increased in recent years. From its inception, Emergency has also relied on a network of volunteers, who raise money by selling T-shirts, tote bags and other items in Italy’s piazzas and events.