Following two aerial attacks in 48 hours the last children’s hospital in besieged East Aleppo has been forced to stop operating.
On Friday 18th Nov at 9:40am [local time] the last pediatric hospital in Eastern Aleppo was targeted with two missiles. The strikes caused massive destruction at a time when the medical staff in the hospital were busy treating dozens of victims showing symptoms of a chlorine attack.
At 10:30am on Wednesday 16th the hospital was hit by an attack in which twenty barrel bombs were targeted in the area of the hospital forcing the medical staff and patients to flee to the basement for safety, luckily no-one was hurt but there was extensive damage to the building. The staff were still rebuilding and cleaning following that attack when today’s strike occurred. Given the deliberate and repeated targeting of the hospital the three remaining pediatricians have decided to not reopen the hospital.
The Children’s Hospital is supported by the Independent Doctors Association and has been running since 2013, receiving around 4,000 consultations a month and serving 90,000 children in eastern Aleppo.
Dr. Ghaith, one of the 3 remaining pediatricians, said:
“We were treating cases of suffocation and acute respiratory failure due to the inhalation of chlorine gas from an attack in which the patients described barrel bombs containing chlorine being dropped. Whilst we were treating patients the hospital was targeted by two parachute guided missiles. The strikes caused massive destruction of the hospital, injuries to the staff and the power to cut. With the power cut the staff risked their lives rushing to save those in the incubators.”
Dr. Mahmoud Mustafa, Director of IDA said:
“”We have never seen an onslaught before like we are seeing on Aleppo, including a very specific, targeted campaign on hospitals and the most vulnerable population — children. We appeal to the whole world to immediately intervene to stop this barbaric attack. We are specifically calling on European countries to take a lead in stopping the attacks, to use their power to stop Russia and the Syrian government.”
Dr Hatem, the Director of the Hospital said:
“While the world is distracted the Syrian Government and its ally Russia are launching a full-scale assault on the approximately 275,000 trapped civilians in Aleppo, warning us we face ‘extermination’. The Friends of Syria countries must take urgent action to use their influence to stop these bombs. We cannot believe that the world’s most powerful countries can’t stop children’s hospitals being bombed and hundreds of thousands facing starvation.”
VERY POWERFUL VIDEO taken by Amro Halabi a local reporter showing female nurses taking babies from the incubators. Credited to Al Jazeera but with permission to be used elsewhere as long as watermark kept.
VIDEO taken by a Doctor showing a child injured by the chlorine attack with his father, seeking treatment in the Children’s Hospital at the time of the attack https://www.dropbox.com/s/r2cab93pt6npqda/Video%2018-11-2016%2C%2020%2044%2050.mp4?dl=0
Notes to Editors:
– Independent Doctors Association is a Syrian medical organisation providing healthcare to 1 million people throughout Aleppo province.
– The World Health Organization said it has already recorded 126 attacks on health facilities in 2016.
– Yesterday humanitarian organisations working in Aleppo called on American citizens to do more to lobby their Government to stop the air strikes
– The failure to stop the crisis in Aleppo could lead to another Srebrenica or Rwanda, warned UN Special Envoy Staffan De Mistura.
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