Medical staff meet Bosnian refugees: Celia Hall witnesses the arrival in Britain of seven casualties from the conflict

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The Independent Online
A WEARY child clutched a teddy bear and another was carried from the aircraft in his mother's arms as six Bosnian children and one young man finally arrived in Britain yesterday for treatment.

The mercy flight, carrying sick and wounded evacuees landed at Birmingham International airport at 4pm after a journey from central Bosnia via Split and Ancona, in Italy.

Under a slate-grey sky and heavy rain, the medically equipped chartered aircraft touched down following a two-hour flight. Standing by was a fleet of ambulances and paramedic units to take the evacuees to hospitals in the Midlands.

The first casualty off the aircraft was a little boy, in the arms of a paramedic. Behind him a little girl was led by the hand.

The evacuee children and 24-year-old Selim Zlomusic are suffering either from war wounds or chronic diseases that need urgent treatment.

Nine-year-old Senad Zukic, who has gunshot wounds in the legs and body and possibly an eye injury, is being treated at the Heartlands hospital trust, east Birmingham, where Mr Zlomusic has also been admitted with shell wounds.

Faruk Catisbusic, seven, has a piece of shrapnel in his skull and was taken to the Midland Centre for Neurosurgery, Smethwick, West Midlands.

The only girl in the party, Emina Omeric, three, who has a severly curved spine, is at the Royal Orthopaedic hospital, south Birmingham; Alen Handaric, two who has congenital heart disease, was taken to Groby Road hospital, Leicester; Amir Nesdic, three, who has leukaemia, was taken to Birmingham Children's hospital; and Damir Kariac, a year old, who has water on the brain, is being treated at the Walsgrave hospital, Coventry.

Dr Duncan Stewart, a GP from Brighton who returned from Bosnia on yesterday's flight, said the general condition of the evacuees was quite good. 'All are in reasonably good shape,' he said.

(Photograph omitted)