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Approximately half of casualties in Eastern Aleppo are children

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Humanitarian partners in Eastern Aleppo have told Save the Children that approximately half of the casualties they are pulling from the rubble or treating in hospitals are children.

AUDIO : Click here for full transcripts and audio clips of Dr Abu Rajab’s interviews from hospital today.

One hospital said that 43 per cent of the injured they treated yesterday were children, and the ambulance crew with Shafak, a Syrian NGO, said more than 50 per cent of the casualties they have picked up in the last 48 hours are children.

Doctors are working round the clock to try to save them, but children are dying on the floors of hospitals due to critical shortages of basic medicines and equipment, including ventilators, anaesthetics and antibiotics. Severe cases need to be transferred out of Eastern Aleppo for treatment, but all roads are blocked.

The information they have provided paints a picture of unimaginable violence and suffering for children and their families, as the UN Security Council meets for an emergency session on Aleppo.

Dr Abu Rajab, who works at a hospital in the besieged enclave, said that of 67 injured patients that came in yesterday, 29 were children. Five children died because the hospital did not have enough ventilators to treat them. This morning (information received at 12.00 BST), 17 more patients had come in.

Dr Abu Rajab said (click for full interview): “The field hospitals where we work are completely full with injured people and casualties, the majority of them women and children. The patients are on the floor, with no ventilators for the ones who need oxygen. We have to take the ventilators from one patient to save another. We have severe shortages (of medicines and equipment) and exhausted medical staff who are working above human ability, 24 hours a day.”

“Through you, we are calling for immediate help, calling all humans around the world. We demand, through the Security Council’s platform, to stop the airstrikes on Aleppo city – the airstrikes which are causing all of this.”

Aid agencies estimated there were at least 100,000 children trapped in eastern Aleppo when the siege was first imposed in June.

Sonia Khush, Save the Children’s Syria Director, said: “We are witnessing an appalling atrocity being perpetuated against the children of Aleppo in front of our eyes today. The failure to protect them and children across Syria will haunt the international community for decades to come.

“The UN Security Council has a chance to right the wrong and prevent more suffering when it meets today in New York. They cannot leave the room until they agree an immediate ceasefire, with roads opened to allow us to bring desperately needed food, clean water and medical supplies in.

“There must also be accountability and justice for what has happened. We support calls for an independent investigation into the attack on the UN/SARC aid convoy last week. That investigation should also have the remit to look at whether there have been other breaches of International Humanitarian Law and war crimes committed in this latest escalation.”

AUDIO : Click here for full transcripts and audio clips of Dr Abu Rajab’s interviews from hospital today.