On November 18, several babies who were placed in incubators had to be evacuated because an air raid hit a hospital in Aleppo. According to a report on Aljazeera.com, nurses had to struggle through the darkness in the hospital’s wards to move patients to safety. One of the evacuated babies still had hospital tubes attached to their body. After countless children and adults, premature babies have now become collateral damage in 2016’s biggest refugee crisis.
This facility was the only children’s hospital in the affected area, and now, it is out of action. Three of its floors were destroyed and the staff was forced to move patients to the basement.
This Syrian city witnessed 30 airstrikes that have critically paralysed all hospitals and makeshift medical facilities says a Doctors Without Borders report. This has never happened in the history of the eastern part of the city. In the past, hospitals have been rebuilt and have gone back to functioning normally, but this does not seem possible now. On November 18, the last standing hospital in East Aleppo was attacked.
Reports from other sources say that even though there are some functional facilities, people are reluctant to visit them, and this is hardly surprising. This tragedy occurs at a time when 2,50,000 people are living under siege and there is an acute shortage of basic necessities, such as food and medical supplies.
Rescuer group White Helmets say that their equipment and vehicles have been damaged. This, combined with the systematic attacks on hospitals and medical warehouses, has left the civilians with no options. “What is not clear is how much longer the health system, already on its knees, can carry on functioning unless the bombing stops and medical supplies are allowed in,” a source from Doctors Without Borders says.
Earlier this year in April and May, the al-Quds and al-Dabit hospitals were bombed. In June, the al-Bayan and al-Hakeem hospitals, as well as the Abdulhadi Fares clinic, were attacked by airstrikes. In September, the M2 and M10 hospitals were bombed. In October, M10 was attacked again.
Aleppo has had a divided existence since 2012, with the eastern half of the city being controlled by rebels and the western half by the government. It has been claimed that these attacks on Aleppo have been carried out based on orders given by the Syrian and Russian governments. However, both governments deny this claim.
Those week-old babies, who were evacuated, will grow up in a world that is very different from the one their parents grew up in. The only good news that has emerged out of this is that all of them are safe. But will these children ever be able to live without fear?