By Dan Wooding, Founder of the ASSIST News Service
HAMBURG, GERMANY (ANS – November 6, 2015) — A Syrian boy whose disappearance from a hospital in Belgrade while on the European refugee trail sparked a huge social media campaign has been reunited with his parents in Germany.
The BBC’s John Sweeney, who led the search for five-year-old Azam, tweeted the good news.
Azam had travelled ahead of his parents with an uncle and was seriously injured during the journey.
His story sparked the social media campaign #FindAzam.
“Azam was not the only member of the family to be injured while making the journey from Syria to Europe,” said the BBC. “His reunion with his parents on Thursday took place in a German hospital, where his father is being treated for a broken leg that he sustained during the journey through Greece.”
John Sweeney first met Azam in Serbia in September while making a documentary about the refugee trail for the top BBC’s current affairs program Panorama.
The boy was crying in pain because a car had run him over while he was asleep, breaking his jaw.
But before completing his treatment in Belgrade, Azam vanished with his uncle.
For the BBC Newsnight program, Sweeney retraced the steps of the refugee trail that Azam and his uncle took, travelling from Serbia to Hamburg where the child was eventually found by a BBC team after a long search involving the crucial use of social media.
The uncle told the BBC that a splinter had entered Azam’s eye during shelling in Damascus and he was asked by the child’s parents to take him as speedily as possible to Germany for it to be treated.
He said that he was forced to take the child out of hospital in Serbia because the priority was to get him to Germany as quickly as possible, which he was able to do, much for the great joy of his family.
Photo captions: 1) Azam is pictured on a German hospital bed with his father, who broke a leg on his journey through Greece (BBC). 2) The boy was looking much happier in this picture. (BBC). 3) Map of Azam’s incredible travels – a total of 1470 miles (BBC). 4) Dan Wooding recording his radio show.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 74, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is also the author of some 45 books and has two US-based TV programs –- “Windows on the World” and “Inside Hollywood with Dan Wooding” — which are both broadcast on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv/) and a weekly radio show called “Front Page Radio” on the KWVE Radio Network (www.kwve.com).
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