UOSSM aided those forcefully displaced from Harasta, Ghouta on Thursday. Approximately 450 families, around 2000 people were forcefully displaced from their homes. This was the first group of the 8000 that will be forced to leave their homes in order to preserve their lives.
Those who chose to leave didn't seem like they had a choice after being subjected to a fierce bombardment since February 18, as they were exposed to chemical, incendiary and barrel bombs, among other types of attacks, daily. At least 1600 have been killed and over 5000 wounded.
Many of those displaced were children. The newly displaced reached the point where UOSSM, among many other NGOs, were aiding the people, evaluating their conditions and transferring them to hospitals if deemed necessary. Most of the people were in terrible condition as they were hungry, thirsty, cold and mentally and physically exhausted from the siege of over five years and the bombardment for over one month. UOSSM provided primary health care services, protection and mental health services and ambulances to transport cases to hospitals.
Dr. Amani Ballour, a pediatrician from Ghouta sent out an urgent plea to anyone that would listen as the violence continues in eastern Ghouta. Resolution 2401 was passed over 15 days ago and the people of Ghouta have yet to witness a ceasefire or any type of relief. At least 27 civilians were killed today adding to the death toll of over 1100 since the beginning of the bombardment on February 18. At least 26 medical facilities were attacked and nine medical workers were killed, thousands have been injured in the violent attacks.
Dr. Ballour said, “Eastern Ghouta, which has been besieged for over five years, and has witnessed the worst types of siege, bombardment and starvation, is living today in catastrophic conditions in every way, shape and form. The medical situation is always extremely terrible. For the past 20 days we have received large numbers of wounded victims. In the one hospital I work in we admit almost 100 wounded every day. Unfortunately, most of the wounded are women and children. We have a major shortage in medical staff, in medical supplies, we are doing the best that we can, but we can’t keep up with the large numbers of wounded. We have been talking about the situation for over five years, we have been sending our messages to the United Nations, to the international community, and to humanitarian organizations. Everything that is happening is known all over the world, media is being distributed directly from inside Ghouta to all media outlets and venues, but the world is closing their ears to what the people of Ghouta are saying. There are over 400,000 civilians with over 100,000 children. Unfortunately, the pictures of our bloodied, wounded and killed children is not affecting people around the world. What is the world waiting for to help save the 400,000 civilians?” You can click here to read the press release about today's events by clicking here.
Dr. Ballour's plea.Read more
A UOSSM Primary Health Care Center in Misraba and a UOSSM office in Hammouria,were among the several area hospitals and medical facilities attacked within the past 24 hours under a wave of attacks on hospitals, buildings and “anything standing” in eastern Ghouta. The bombardment has caused most of the inhabitants of the areas to be displaced into other parts of the city. An area doctor who chose to remain unnamed said, “Hammouria is under massive attacks causing a state of mass hysteria as every building is being bombed one by one, wiping out the entire area. The area has turned into a ghost town as everyone in the area has been displaced and all medical facilities were attacked.”
The death toll since February 18 has risen to over 1000, with thousands wounded as the area is under relentless bombardment. You can click here to read UOSSM USA's press release today.
94 Civilians were killed yesterday by heavy airstrikes as the first aid convoy entered eastern Ghouta in months. Among those killed was a dentist, Dr. Ahmad Wahbah.
UOSSM condemned the reported confiscation of medical aid from the WHO/ SARC aid convoy to Ghouta on March 5, 2018. Early reports indicate the removal of surgical equipment, simple medication and insulin. Under significant threat from aerial attacks, aid convoys left Douma before they could fully unload. Nine out of 45 trucks were not unloaded. Please click here to read the full press release.
In addition there were reports of a chemical attack as victims affected were experiencing symptoms consistent with the choking agent chlorine gas exposure, including coughing, sore throat and redness of eyes. Today the Damascus and Rural Damascus Health Directorate found that a basement was targeted by a rocket that did not explode but emitted "irritating substances which caused some symptoms including coughing, red eyes, throat irritation, with no signs of breathlessness." 29 victims were treated and released.Read more
Less than 24 hours after Resolution 2401 was passed by the UNSC, the ceasefire was violated. Over 20 were killed and two medical facilities were attacked. The resolution called for emergency cessation of hostilities for 30 days after eastern Ghouta was pounded for a week with an aerial bombardment killing over 500, wounding thousands, and attacking 26 medical facilities, putting most out of service.
A fierce bombardment continued today in besieged eastern Ghouta. Today, 91 civilians were killed leaving the total of at least 407 since Sunday. Medical facilities have also been attacked which has even further added to the medical infrastructure crisis in eastern Ghouta. 24 medical facilities were attacked, some more than once since Sunday, leaving thousands with very little access to medical care. Many are suffering tremendously in the area not only from the attacks, but also due to lack of basic necessities including food and drinking water.
A UOSSM staff member, Abdul Rahman Ismail, was killed today in Ghouta. Abdul Rahman was only 28 years old. Abdul Rahman said in his last voice mail to UOSSM staff minutes before he was killed, “I am right in an area with a safe shelter and there is a hospital, but truthfully speaking it is absolutely terrible, airstrikes and barrels dropping like crazy, we don’t even have time to count them, or whether we should count them or to just run away." He is survived by his wife and two children.
It was another brutal day in Ghouta as over 200 have been killed and over 700 wounded in the past two days. All of the victims were civilians, and most were women and children.
Eight medical facilities were attacked today in eastern Ghouta, for a total of 13 hospital attacks in 48 hours. Reports state there have been over 127 airstrikes, illegal barrels, and countless mortars and artillery strikes today. This has paralyzed the already crippled medical infrastructure in Ghouta. At least 200 civilians have been killed and over 700 wounded in the past two days. Many of the victims are women and children.
It was a terrifying day in eastern Ghouta as a fierce campaign swept the area killing at least 88 and wounding at least 500, as all area hospitals were put out of service due to the violence. Five area hospitals were attacked and put out of service in an already vulnerable area that has experienced a major shortage of medical supplies, and medications due to the brutal siege.
The death toll is expected to rise as many may still be buried under the rubble. Dr. Asem from one of the area hospitals said, “The situation is catastrophic, people have nowhere to turn. They are trying to survive but their hunger from the siege has weakened them significantly.”
Most of those suffering from the siege and attacks are women and children.
As the violence continues throughout Syria, Ghouta has been especially hard hit. In the past four days 237 were killed and 1250 were wounded in Ghouta alone. Several medical facilities in the area were also attacked leaving people in a vulnerable state, as they are under a fierce bombardment. Many of the wounded are afraid to go to area hospitals out of fear from these attacks, risking even more lives.