Written by IRSA
March 12, 2020
Since December 2019, up to 1 million people have fled their homes and forced to endure miserable conditions, at least 500 civilians have been killed.
• More than 84 hospitals and medical facilities, including 18 hospitals and medical centres supported by Islamic Relief, were damaged, destroyed or forced to close their doors due to violence or mass shortages of staff or supplies since 1 Dec, 2019.
• Up to 90 percent of the remaining health centres in Idlib lack medication to treat chronic diseases.
• Violence as well as shortages of fuel and medicine delayed 106,000 medical outpatient consultations, led to 11,000 trauma patients not being seen and caused the suspension of 2,000 major surgeries during February 2020.
• There is a very high level of miscarriages due to vitamin deficiency, nutritious food and parental care
• There are reports of 15 amputations in the past month as a result of shelling and landmines from one hospital and patients with diabetes are having their limbs amputated because of infected wounds
• At one hospital patient numbers have rocketed from 5,000 to 9,000 per month
• Children flinch at motorbike engines, mistaking it for bombing, suggesting they might be suffering PTSD-like symptoms early December.
“The situation in Idlib is dire, people are exhausted, hungry and afraid. The health system has been shattered by the violence and mass displacement and it is already struggling to cope. We’re very concerned that if the coronavirus reaches Idlib this humanitarian catastrophe will only get worse” said Ahmed Mahmoud* Islamic Relief’s Syria Country Director.
Eyewitness reports from Idlib suggest severe humanitarian suffering and desperation. While the ceasefire in hostilities in early March brought a short-term reprieve for the millions of civilians caught in the Idlib conflict, Islamic Relief fears it won’t ease the humanitarian situation for the people on the ground.
“We’re seeing women and children waiting outside in the cold outside hospitals as people struggle to cope. In some places patient numbers have tripled in a month. The system has been brought to the very brink of collapse.” – Ahmed Mahmoud – Islamic Relief’s Syria Country Director
Islamic Relief is one of the biggest providers of medical assistance in Idlib, offering support to 80 health facilities, paying the salaries of more than 150 medical staff and operating four Emergency Mobile Health Units, a fleet of trucks that have been converted to surgical operating rooms that are in high demand whenever bombs start to fly.
While Islamic Relief has long tried to provide mental health and psychosocial support, the devastation has forced operations to shift to provision of basic supplies such as food, water and shelter.
Thus far, Islamic Relief, has provided food to more than 220,000 people and tents and blankets, mattresses and plastic sheets to more than 10,000 people. In 2019, we reached more than two million people in the north-west although our teams estimates the needs will be even larger in 2020.
We need your help to support the medical emergency in Idlib.