Urgent: Distress Call from the Ground in Idlib

The UOSSM Safety and Security Director recently visited the region and sent the following distress call for help. The situation is dire. 

Peace and blessings be upon you

My Dear Brothers and Sisters, God bless you all
I am not sending these words because I am from Hama and my city, KafrNabooda, was bombarded leading to destruction, fires and displacement. I am speaking as a Syrian from the most beautiful land on earth, with the most amazing people on Earth. I am speaking on behalf of anyone who has lived on this land…
On behalf of your brothers and sisters from Hama, Damascus, Homs, Idlib, Al Raqqa, Al Dayr, Daraa, Golan Heights, Al Sahel, and Aleppo etc., the people that now live in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib…they are people that were displaced from Eastern Ghouta and Northern Homs, and Daraa, and Quneitra and Aleppo. They are, in this blessed month, in desperate need for people to lend a helping hand…they are need of those that will shelter them…that will feed them…that will ease the pain and suffering… that will stand by them in their disastrous situation/calamity…

This catastrophe and disaster is larger than the catastrophe of Aleppo and Ghouta and Homs and all other Syrian areas…The numbers of displaced have exceeded 400,000 and I am not exaggerating…20% of them are without shelter, living under the olive trees…over 35% are in Mosques, schools, community shelters and government buildings… and over 30% are in displacement camps; with over 3 families in each tent…in the worst of conditions…there is not enough food, not enough water, not enough blankets, and not even enough toilets…. The rest of the people sold their gold and personal belongings and rented homes for $100 that don’t even have the basic necessities for a home or are staying as guests with friends and family or generous people that welcomed them into their homes. 
I am speaking like this because the displaced fled with the clothes on their backs…they fled barefoot…they fled in search of safety for them and their families after the bombings would not stop. Even if a ceasefire is agreed upon and the bombings stop, over 50% of these people cannot return home because they have no home to return to; they were destroyed by the bombings.

Advocacy is important…calling out the guilty criminals is important…showing the pain and suffering and the size of the catastrophe is important as well…but what is most important is our role as human beings to alleviate the suffering in any way we can…alleviation is not a pain killer pill or the salary of a nurse or doctor…alleviation is by protecting their dignity…by providing a tent to give them shelter…or some food and water to stop their hunger and thirst…some clothing to give them some dignity and make their children smile as Eid approaches…

There is so much need… so much we can do…I know that UOSSM operations on the ground in the Northern region are doing what they can to respond to the medical need and the operation of mobile clinics and support of healthcare centers, but right now the more important role is not the medical role but the humanitarian role which is part of our mission and goals…

The response of other humanitarian organizations is almost non-existent… the people are in desperate need for your support. I’m sorry this is so long but I wanted to relay this message as my duty in front of God and of those in need. May God bless you all and reward you.

To join our campaign to #Act4Idlib please click here.

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Al Rukban Camp is in Dire Condition

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At least 55,000 people are at risk in Al Rukban refugee camp which is located in southeastern Syria on the borders of Jordan and Iraq. According to community health workers diarrhea has become widespread, especially among women and children. In the past month 15 people have died, including two babies that died of malnutrition and inadequate medical care. 
The camp was built in 2015, and is in a desert with harsh living conditions. Inhabitants of the camp are internally displaced as they fled violence from nearby areas. 
Water is scarce, and refugees have resorted to drinking contaminated drinking water causing a rise in various illnesses. Medicine, medical supplies and formula are scarce, further complicating the situation. No medical or humanitarian aid has been allowed in the area since January 2018.

The Number of Displaced From Daraa Continues to Rise

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Over 260,000 civilians have been internally displaced in the past 10 days after Daraa came under a fierce bombardment. Most of the IDPs are staying in the open, exposed to the elements, with no shelter, no water, no sanitary facilities, not even a tent, or cover to protect them from the scorching sun. They are near the Jordanian border, which is closed.

Five children died a few days ago, after being stung by scorpions with no access to medical care. Scorpions are common in this area. 

At least 212 civilians have been killed and over 500 have been wounded. UOSSM's mobile clinics are traveling throughout the area trying to help the people in this massive crisis. 

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UOSSM Loses Three Staff Members in One Week in Daraa

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Three UOSSM staff members have been killed in airstrikes in the past week in Daraa as the fierce bombardment continues to escalate. Five medical facilities have been attacked and put out of service, including UOSSM's Busr Al-Harir PHC, leaving tens of thousands with very little access to medical care and emergency care and relief, as the bombing and shelling continues to injure and kill every day. Since June 19, over 150 have been killed, at least 300 were wounded, and at least 100,000 have become internally displaced. Most of the victims are women and children. 

On June 21, Maysoun Harbat, a UOSSM midwife, was killed along with her daughter in Daraa as a result of heavy shelling. Her other daughter was also severely injured. You can click here to read the full press release. 

On June 25, Abdulhadi Al Hariri, a volunteer UOSSM Ambulance driver, was killed in a double tab strike as he was trying to evacuate a wounded victim from the scene of an attack. Al Hariri was volunteering with UOSSM and the White Helmets to help those in need of relief. Abdulhadi had five children. You can click here to read the full press release. 

On June 27, Yusuf Ayyash, a UOSSM warehouse worker was killed in an attack along with his wife and daughter. You can click here to read the full press release. 

 

 

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UOSSM Zaafaraneh PHC Attacked and Put Out of Service

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The UOSSM Zaafaraneh Primary Health Care Center was attacked on Sunday and put out of service. The PHC provided free health care to approximately 6000 patients and most importantly provided 120 deliveries a month, among other primary health care services. The center was damaged by an airstrike that hit 30 feet away. The center was among three medical facilities attacked in Homs in the past two days as Homs is being bombarded. You can click here to read the press release with details about the attacks.

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42 Confirmed Dead in Massive Chemical Attack in Ghouta

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42 people have been confirmed dead and hundreds affected by the chemical attack on Douma in eastern Ghouta on Saturday April 7. Many of the victims were women and children and experienced symptoms consistent with inhaling toxic gas. *Earlier, UOSSM reported 70 confirmed dead, but due to conflicting reports, and difficulty gathering data we are confident that at least 42 are confirmed dead, those numbers are expected to rise. Some of the symptoms victims experienced include: cyanosis, foaming of the mouth, cornea irritation, and the strong odor of a chlorine like substance. 

Please click here to read the full press release about the attack. 

 


Alarming Number of Malnourished Children From Eastern Ghouta

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There are an alarming number of malnourished children that were forcefully displaced from eastern Ghouta. Almost 12% of children examined were malnourished.

UOSSM, along with other NGOs on the ground at the destination point, examined and tested all children that were displaced. The number of malnourished was high.

A total of 9828 children were tested and of those 903 children were diagnosed with acute malnutrition and 263 were diagnosed with severe malnutrition. 

This is just one group of almost 10,000 children. There are still over 150,000 besieged in Douma in eastern Ghouta. Please click here to read the full malnutrition report. 


Qasem, Karim, Noor and Alaa All Safe in Turkey

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Several children became the faces of the children of Ghouta. Karim, who lost his eye became the center of the #SolidarityWithKarim campaign, where people all over the world would take a selfie covering their left eye. 

Qasem's story also became very well known as the image of his bandaged face went viral on social media. Both Qasem and Karim lost their mothers in attacks.

Click here to read the full story about Qasem.

Click here to read the press release about the #SolidarityWithKarim campaign. 

Noor and Alaa's videos went viral as well as they would send out video tweets about their terrifying situation in Ghouta.

All these children have been taken to Turkey, and were reunited together. Qasem and Karim will finally the medical care that they have needed for so many months.

 

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Over 14,000 Families; 44,000 Displaced From Ghouta in One Week

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From March 23-31 2018 UOSSM registered over 14,000 families, which is over 44,000 people, that were forcefully displaced from eastern Ghouta. Between March 23 and March 31, UOSSM provided mental health care, and child protection services to over 26,000 beneficiaries. UOSSM is part of a coalition of several NGOs serving the people of Ghouta. 

UOSSM has been providing primary health care, mental health care and psychosocial support, ambulatory and nutrition services to thousands of newly displaced persons, and has been leading the data collection process at the evacuation point. 


Over 12,000 Total Displaced from Ghouta

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On March 25 and March 26 over 6000 were forcefully displaced from eastern Ghouta. Many of those were women and children. On March 25, over 1000 were displaced, and on March 26, over 5000 were displaced.

Four women went into labor on the buses on March 26, and two gave birth on the bus in below humane conditions, all four were rushed to area hospitals once they reached the destination point. On March 26, there were 131 War injury cases, 115 pediatric cases, 15 critical cases, and 1060 malnutrition cases. 

Of the 1060, 87 were SAM severe malnutrition cases, and 161 were MAM acute malnutrition cases. Over 1500 children were vaccinated with polio vaccine. 

 



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