For Immediate Release February 9, 2015
Washington, DC – SAMS condemns the intense and brutal assaults of Eastern Ghouta and the shelling of Damascus, and calls for an urgent humanitarian and medical response from the international community.
The last five days have brought immense suffering to the hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in besieged Eastern Ghouta, in what some residents are calling an unprecedented aerial and artillery assault by the government on the city. According to medical personnel on the ground, 85 people were killed in the attacks on the areas of Douma, Erbeen, Ain Terma, and Kafr Batna. At least 17 children and 13 women were among those killed, including a female volunteer for the Red Crescent Douma Branch.
The number of wounded was over 300 on Friday. Civil defense, evacuation teams, surgeons, and medics sustained major injuries. The only vascular surgeon in Eastern Ghouta is suffering from second-degree burns, and the only thoracic surgeon in Eastern Ghouta is also injured. Two ambulances were destroyed by aerial bombardment. Field hospitals in Eastern Ghouta have faced infrastructural damage and are overwhelmed by the numbers of injured civilians. A SAMS-supported hospital in Douma sustained severe damages, and is currently closed. The loss of already limited medications and supplies has led to intense limitations on the emergency treatment available to the injured.
The Medical Office in Douma published a short statement about this week’s attacks, titled “Carrying On.” Though the health workers are overextended and in danger, they wanted to deliver the message that bombings will not prevent them from continuing with their medical work.
SAMS is leading an emergency response to deliver medical care to Eastern Ghouta, beginning with a $100,000 pledge to rebuild the surgical hospital. SAMS is calling for additional donors and supporters to help bring supplies and medication to Eastern Ghouta, and support to the brave doctors on the ground who are saving lives.