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Michigan doctor part of relief mission stranded in Gaza

Michigan doctor part of relief group stranded in Gaza
Michigan doctor part of relief group stranded in Gaza 02:56

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - A doctor from West Bloomfield is now stranded in Gaza after heading there with a relief group earlier in May. 

At the beginning of May, Dr. Ammar Ghanem headed to Gaza for a two-week medical mission that was part of his nonprofit Syrian American Medical Society.

Now, he's unable to leave, and his family is hoping for a miracle.

"There is multiple challenges that face us in the ICU here, including a shortage in supplies and, on top of this, a shortage in staff," said Ghanem.

Ghanem says the turmoil from the war between Israel and Hamas is devastating.

"It's really hard to tell or describe the situation with words unless you come and see it with your eyes. When I came here, I was not expecting the situation to be that bad," he stated. "It is very traumatic, but at the same time, I'm feeling rewarded because I'm able to help. We've had many success stories that we've been able to help some of the patients to survive and the local staff are feeling very supported."

With the border between Egypt and Rafah closed, Ghanem is trapped and unable to come home. His family is now worried for his safety.

"It's just every day is a nightmare for us. Is he going to make it? Is he not going to make it? What's going to happen if we lost him? What are we going to do? I have no clue," said Amnah Allboani, Ghanem's wife.

Amnah Allboani says she's reached out countless times to lawmakers and the White House about how they plan to bring her husband home to Michigan. Each time, they provide her with the same response.

"I've heard back from many of them. They say it's very complex and complicated situation. Said we are aware of the situation, and we're trying our best to bring them back safe. You know this is their words … but I don't know when," Amnah Allboani said. 

Though there's no end in sight yet, this family, especially Ghanem, hasn't lost faith and is eager to be reunited.

"My family is broken about my absence and my safety, and I want to return home to my family to support them during this difficult time," said Ghanem Allboani. 

U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens issued the following statement on Wednesday:

"Representative Stevens and her team are closely monitoring Dr. Ammar Ghanem's case and are working with the State Department and his family to ensure his safe return. She is thankful to the dedicated humanitarian aid workers, like Dr. Ghanem, who are using their skills to help alleviate suffering for the civilians of Gaza. Rep. Stevens encourages the Israeli government to continue to protect aid and medical workers and allow for their safe passage in and out of Gaza."

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