Hanwha supports Iraqi girl’s medical expenses

By Claire Lee
  • Published : Jul 23, 2014 - 20:06
  • Updated : Jul 23, 2014 - 20:06
An Iraqi girl whose right leg was at risk of amputation due to severe osteomyelitis recovered from the illness through support from Hanwha Engineering & Construction Co., Korea’s major construction firm said.

The girl, Tiba Amer Alwan, tripped in November while running to greet her father, Amer Alwan Ibreesam, who works at the builder’s Bismayah branch. 

She fractured her leg and soon developed acute osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone.

The 5-year-old underwent four surgeries at a local hospital in Iraq, but her condition only worsened to a level where she almost needed an amputation.
Amer Alwan Ibreesam (left) poses for a photo with Hanwha E&C’s Kim Se-hong (center), as well as his daughter Tiba. (Hanwha E&C)

Hanwha E&C, Amer’s employer, decided to support his daughter after learning about her condition. The conglomerate financed Amer and Tiba’s trip to South Korea, where she underwent three procedures at Ajou University Hospital.

All of the medical expenses were paid for by Hanwha E&C and its subsidiary Hanwha Corporation and Trade.

The disease creates tenderness or pain over the affected bone, so many child patients experience difficulty using or inability to use the affected limb or even walk. Tiba was immobile when she arrived in Korea for treatment.

The procedures ― which involved getting rid of the dead bone ― were performed successfully, and Tiba is scheduled to be released from the Korean hospital in August.

“I am convinced that she will be able to walk again as long as her healthy bone grows properly,” said surgeon Cho Jae-ho, who performed the procedures. 
Amer Alwan Ibreesam (second from left), an Iraqi worker who works for Hanwha E&C’s Bismayah branch in Iraq, watches a Korean medical staff treating his daughter Tiba, who suffered from severe osteomyelitis, at Ajou University Hospital in Korea. (Hanwha E&C)

Amer said he is grateful for Hanwha and the staff at Ajou University for their support. “(Tiba was) able to receive excellent treatment without having to worry about the cost. And I am truly grateful for that,” he said.

Hanwha Engineering signed an $8 million contract with the Iraqi government in 2012 to build 100,000 residential units in Bismayah, which is to become the largest satellite town of Baghdad.

The project, in which Amer is partaking, is the highest-valued overseas construction deal in South Korea’s history. The order exceeded 10 percent of the total value of the country’s overseas construction orders. It is scheduled to be completed by 2019.

Hanwha E&C has been making efforts to gain a positive reputation among people in Iraq, to generate potential opportunities for other Korean firms to expand their businesses in the Middle Eastern state.

The company has been engaging in a variety of corporate social responsibility activities in the region, including medical services and cultural exchanges.

“Amer is a hard worker and has been very much liked by his coworkers at the site of Bismayah,” said Moon Seok from Hanhwa Engineering.

“We are glad that Tiba can now walk again. We will continue to make efforts to support locals in Iraq by engaging in a variety of activities and services.”

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government is planning to invest some $275 billion in transportation, security, housing, information technology and energy by 2017, as part of its long-term, postwar nation reconstruction plan. The Bismayah New City Project is part of the government’s agenda to rebuild the country.

Once the project is completed, Bismayah will be six times the size of South Korea’s Yeouido, and similar in size to Bundang, one of the major satellite cities near Seoul, developed in the early 1990s.

Hanwha E&C signed an MOU with its subsidiary Hanwha Corporation and Trade and Ajou University Hospital to pursue a number of joint projects, including establishing an education program for foreign physicians.

By Claire Lee (