Joao Silva

Joao Silva, right, and photographer Gary Bernard in Sebokeng, South Africa, 1992

Credit: Greg Marinovich

Friends of a photojournalist who suffered severe injuries after stepping on a mine in Afghanistan have set up a website to help raise money for his recovery.

Portuguese-born Joao Silva was working for the New York Times in Afghanistan, embedded with the US military in Kandahar Province, when he stepped on the mine on 23 October, losing both his legs below the knee.

The website, which was launched yesterday with the help of Photoshelter, is offering Silva's work for sale as digital prints or one of a limited number of hand prints from Joao's South African work.

The site follows a fund launched in the days after Silva was injured on 23 October, which has raised $10,000 to date.

All funds raised will be given to Silva, and friend and fellow photographer Greg Marinovich said he will donate any funds that he does not need himself to a charity or cause of his choice.

Silva has now been moved to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and is undergoing several operations for treatment of the serious injuries he received.

Marinovich, who set up the fund with his wife Leonie, told that they expect him to be in the US for another two to three months undergoing treatment.

"He is doing okay and getting along, but it is a long and painful journey,” he said.

In a memo to staff, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller said Silva had shown extraordinary strength.

"Those of you who know Joao will not be surprised to learn that throughout this ordeal he continued to shoot pictures. Joao suffered serious injuries to both of his legs along with other wounds, but he is extraordinarily strong and indomitable of spirit.

"After surgery at the military hospital in Kandahar, Joao was flown Saturday night to Bagram Air Base, near Kabul, to have his wounds cleaned and be checked out before transport to a military hospital in Germany."

On Monday, Portuguese president Aníbal Cavaco Silva issued a statement wishing Silva a fast recovery.

"I have followed your situation ever since you found yourself faced with such a terrible moment in your life. As you have always shown great spirit in the more difficult circumstances, I feel certain that the courage that has won you so many admirers will accompany you in this stage when such a strong determination is demanded in your fight against adversity.

"I thus wish you a fast recovery, for the happiness of your family and of all those who look up to you with great respect for your qualities."


In another memo New York Times executive editor Bill Keller said the Times is "committed to doing as much as it can to support Joao and his family throughout this ordeal, including making certain he receives the most comprehensive care and treatment possible".

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