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Posts Tagged ‘Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)

Air Attack on MSF’s Kunduz Hospital: An MSF Nurse Recounts from Afghanistan

October 03, 2015

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs was in Kunduz trauma hospital when the facility was struck by a series of aerial bombing raids in the early hours of Saturday morning.

This was a US strike. And the US is investigating.

Prior to this bombing a US helicopter was shut down and 11 of its crew dead.

He describes his experience:

Noor Khalil shared this link.

“It was absolutely terrifying.

I was sleeping in our safe room in the hospital. At around 2am, I was woken up by the sound of a big explosion nearby. At first I didn’t know what was going on.

Over the past week we’d heard bombings and explosions before, but always further away. This one was different, close and loud.

At first there was confusion, and dust settling. As we were trying to work out what was happening, there was more bombing.

After 20 or 30 minutes, I heard someone calling my name. It was one of the Emergency Room nurses. He staggered in with massive trauma to his arm. He was covered in blood, with wounds all over his body.

At that point my brain just couldn’t understand what was happening. For a second I was just stood still, shocked.

He was calling for help. In the safe room, we have a limited supply of basic medical essentials, but there was no morphine to stop his pain. We did what we could.

I don’t know exactly how long, but it was maybe half an hour afterwards that they stopped bombing. I went out with the project coordinator to see what had happened.

What we saw was the hospital destroyed, burning. I don’t know what I felt, just shock again.

We went to look for survivors. A few had already made it to one of the safe rooms. One by one, people started appearing, wounded, including some of our colleagues and caretakers of patients.

We tried to take a look into one of the burning buildings. I cannot describe what was inside. There are no words for how terrible it was. In the Intensive Care Unit six patients were burning in their beds.

We looked for some staff that were supposed to be in the operating theater. It was awful.

A patient there on the operating table, dead, in the middle of the destruction. We couldn’t find our staff. Thankfully we later found that they had run out from the operating theater and had found a safe place.

Just nearby, we had a look in the inpatient department. Luckily untouched by the bombing. We quickly checked that everyone was OK. And in a safe bunker next door, also everyone inside was OK.

And then back to the office. Full, patients, wounded, crying out, everywhere.

It was crazy. We had to organize a mass casualty plan in the office, seeing which doctors were alive and available to help. We did an urgent surgery for one of our doctors. Unfortunately he died there on the office table. We did our best, but it wasn’t enough.

The whole situation was very hard. We saw our colleagues dying. Our pharmacist…I was just talking to him last night and planning the stocks, and then he died there in our office.

The first moments were just chaos. Enough staff had survived, so we could help all the wounded with treatable wounds. But there were too many that we couldn’t help. Somehow, everything was very clear. We just treated the people that needed treatment, and didn’t make decisions. How could we make decisions in that sort of fear and chaos?

Some of my colleagues were in too much shock, crying and crying. I tried to encourage some of the staff to help, to give them something to concentrate on, to take their minds off the horror. But some were just too shocked to do anything. Seeing adult men, your friends, crying uncontrollably—that is not easy.

I have been working here since May, and I have seen a lot of heavy medical situations. But it is a totally different story when they are your colleagues, your friends.

These are people who had been working hard for months, non-stop for the past week. They had not gone home, they had not seen their families, they had just been working in the hospital to help people… and now they are dead. These people are friends, close friends. I have no words to express this. It is unspeakable.

The hospital, it has been my workplace and home for several months. Yes, it is just a building. But it is so much more than that. It is healthcare for Kunduz. Now it is gone.

What is in my heart since this morning is that this is completely unacceptable. How can this happen? What is the benefit of this? Destroying a hospital and so many lives, for nothing. I cannot find words for this.”

 

Syria: In a besieged hospital

 This impossible luxury of sleeping and resting

Noor Khalil shared this link on FB. March 13, 2015

“Three years of non-stop surgery under tough circumstances – I have maxed out.

I’ve had enough of scenes of misery, but we have no other choice. People here need us.

They are in desperate need of all kinds of medical care, from the most simple to the most complicated.”
Dr. S is a young surgeon who graduated shortly after the outbreak of the crisis in Syria.

 
Dr S. working in a makeshift hospital that received MSF support tells the story of his medical journey.
 An experience that parallels the war in the country.
msf.org

Dr. S is a young surgeon who graduated shortly after the outbreak of the crisis in Syria. He now works in a makeshift hospital in a semi-rural neighbourhood located to the east of Damascus. This is a facility that received dedicated MSF support and supplies throughout the period of siege, support that continues on a regular monthly basis to this day. He tells the story of his medical journey – an experience that parallels the war in the country.

A temporary truce that death could not penetrate

There was a pregnant woman who was trapped during the time we were under full siege. She was due to deliver soon. All negotiation attempts to get her out failed. She needed a caesarean operation, but there was no maternity hospital we could get her to, and I had never done this operation before.

A few days before the expected delivery date, I was trying to get a working internet connection to read up information on doing a C-section. The clock was ticking and my fear and stress started to peak. I wished I could stop time, but the woman’s labour started.

The atmosphere was tense already, with mad shelling hammering the area.

The bombardments had reached a deafening level. We brought the woman into the operating theatre and I did the operation. Joy overwhelmed me when we knew the baby girl was healthy, and her mother too.

In this madness, our work as surgeons is to save as many lives as we can. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we fail.

It is as if we repair the damage that the war left. But this operation was not the usual damage repair; it helped bring new life to this earth. It was a magical moment; a temporary truce that death could not penetrate.

I chose a deserted school as my hospital

I graduated as a surgeon shortly after the crisis started in Syria.

In the Summer of 2011, with the acceleration of events and medical needs increasing, I started working in small private hospitals.

A few months later, I was arrested, as were many of my colleagues. At the beginning of 2012 I was out, and I returned to treat people and carry on my general surgery specialization.

I was working in improvised field hospitals, operating in conditions that were largely unsuitable for medical work.

We worked in the east of Damascus and then in the Ghouta area, where the medical need was urgent.

At the end of 2012, a semi-rural neighbourhood located to the east of Damascus witnessed violent clashes. The area was packed with displaced people at the time, without any medical centre to treat wounded people. I went there and decided to set up a field hospital.

Following a search, I chose a deserted school that had previously been hit. The upper floors were damaged, but the ground floor, as well as the basement, were in a good shape.

Despite the daily, continuous shelling on the area, and the constant fear and stress, the medical team with which I worked managed to provide tremendous medical care to those who needed it the most.

The siege

A healthy man walked out, and few moments later, he came back with shards of metal in his body.

One day in July 2013, around 10:00 am, the hospital was hit by a rocket. The massive explosion turned the place upside down and its pressure tore out the wooden walls. Medical tools and people were thrown in all directions. Soon a dust cloud settled over the building and made it impossible to see.

The explosion was like nothing before. I thought that worse could follow and this explosion might be only the beginning of something very bad.

Indeed, shells rained on the area and we could hear the clashes getting worse.

As we were getting over the shock, one of the hospital workers collapsed.

She lived near the hospital. Her young boy was at home and the area was coming under heavy shelling. She could not keep it together and she wanted to save her child. A medic offered to go out and look for the child. I did not like the idea because we did not know what was going on outside.

As soon as the medic was out of the hospital door, he saw a tank with its gun facing towards him. A healthy man walked out, and few moments later, he came back with shards of metal in his body. It was only then that we realized the severity of the situation outside. We decided to evacuate the hospital – two medics per patient to carry them – and we got out of the back door.

It was apocalyptic!

We tried to walk fast towards a small medical centre not far from there. Shelling was hammering the fields around us. I was expecting the worst with every shell we heard. We managed to arrive at our destination unharmed.

It was like a miracle. We had left our equipment in the evacuated hospital, but we did not dare to go back there.

Over the next days, we heard that the fighting was moving away from the area around the hospital.

Under heavy bombardment, we decided to go back and bring our equipment. We had to do that to be able to treat people. Taking turns to do the trip, we managed to retrieve as much as possible after ten days.

From then, we were under siege – impossible to get in and out of there. This was also true for medical supplies.

We received a flow of injured people since the first day of the siege. I often operated on two people at once.

We worked around the clock. Sleeping and resting were an impossible luxury. We managed to stop for few moments before dawn to eat some food and drink some water, before getting back to work.

Most days heavy shelling and raging fighting brought us more injured people, leaving us no chance to rest.

The numbers of injured people were way beyond what we could handle, and that forced us to make painful clinical decisions.

After the siege

We were under siege for eight months, up until February 2014.

Eight months of suffering and stress, followed by a ceasefire, during which many people managed to go back to their homes. It became easier to get hold of supplies, and that helped us to continue providing medical care to people in need. Nevertheless, the humanitarian situation remained bad.

There were still often clashes at the edges of the this area and the shelling was still frequent.

This formal ceasefire did not change the nature of our work, but we finally found enough time to expand the hospital. People returning to the neighbourhood meant an increase in the needs, thus more pressure on us. We setup an obstetrics department and clinics to provide basic medical care and chronic diseases management.

We could start doing bone, internal and urinary surgeries; all operations we could not perform before because we had suffered critical shortages of supplies and we had been prioritizing life-saving operations.

MSF continued to provide us with much of what we needed. We even received laboratory kit, which allowed us to carry out diagnostic tests.

And we received an incubator for the obstetrics unit. Little by little, we could start to respond to all the basic general medical needs for the people in the area.

It has to stop, one day

Three years of non-stop surgery under tough circumstances – I have maxed out. I’ve had enough of scenes of misery.

I was on the phone recently with my surgery professor and he said: “regardless of the operating conditions, your work during these three years matches my whole 30 years’ experience as a doctor. You have reached retirement in just three years.”

And indeed, every moment of every day I feel I have had enough, but we have no other choice.

People here need us. They are in desperate need of all kinds of medical care, from the most simple to the most complicated. We cannot add another reason for the deterioration of this already disastrous situation.

Today, I am almost certain that, when the war is over, I will quit medicine. Any human being would make that decision after living what I have lived through.

I look forward to the end of this war. It has to stop, one day. Then, I can choose what to do. Only then, will we be truly alive again.


Although Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders is currently able to run six health facilities in the north of Syria, in most of the country the organization cannot have teams working directly on the ground providing hands-on medical care.

But in order to ensure some continuity of medical provision in the midst of this war, MSF supports over 100 medical centers across Syria where medical help is needed the most, with a focus on besieged communities and active conflict areas where there is little or no other medical support being provided.

Another “Red Line” for the desolate people in the Middle-East?
Chemical attacks in Syria?
And it turned out that the chemical gas was fluoride?
US considering a military response? Supported by the French President Holland without the backing of the parliament and people?
What? France has no idea of what to do with its soldiers returning from Mali and western Africa?
France of Holland was fighting Jihadist terrorists in Mali, the same kinds of terrorists it wants to defend in Syria?
A fresh war territory is to be created to amuse the French generals and testing new aircrafts and missiles…?

The desolate people in the Middle-East (ME) have no strong relations with any superpower, just clients for useless preconditions attached to weapons exported at ludicrous price tags….

Even Russia has much stronger relations with Israel than Syria and Egypt combined, and even at the peak of the Soviet Union alignment…

The Soviet Union was the first superpower to recognize Israel State at the UN, and expected Israel to become the first Communist State in the ME…

The Zionist Lobby in current Russia is by far more dynamic and influential than all the “non-existent” Arabic lobbies in Russia…

And Israel bombed Syria 3 time this year, with Putin green lights.

No, no one is coming to the rescue of the desolate people in the ME and North Africa: The only aid is military strikes to humiliate the people even further… into total submission to the eternal colonial powers

The editorials in the US dailies are not meant to educate and inform the US citizens on the problems of the people in the ME: The role of the editorials is to warn the US citizens of the recurring decisions of the US government for impending military strikes on the desolate people in the ME

Obama weighs possible military response after Syria chemical attack?

Oliver Holmes and Roberta Rampton published in Reuters this August 24, 2013

WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama considered options on Saturday for a possible military strike on Syria in response to a nerve gas attack that killed hundreds as Syria sought to avert blame by saying its soldiers had found chemical weapons in rebel tunnels.

A senior U.N. official arrived in Damascus to seek access for inspectors to the site of last Wednesday’s attack, in which opposition accounts say between 500 and well over 1,000 civilians were killed by gas fired by pro-government forces.

In the most authoritative account so far, the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said 3 hospitals near Damascus had reported 355 deaths in the space of three hours out of about 3,600 admissions with nerve gas-type symptoms.

The accounts and video footage of the victims – men, women and children – have heightened Western calls for a robust, U.S.-led response after 2-1/2 years of international inaction on a conflict that has killed 100,000 people.

U.S. military and national security advisers met Obama at the White House on Saturday to consider options for a response, the day after Washington said it was realigning forces in the Mediterranean to give him the option of attacking Syria.

Obama, long hesitant to intervene, said in a CNN interview broadcast on Friday that the United States was still gathering information about the attack.

He noted, however, that chemicals weapon use on a large scale would start “getting to some core national interests that the United States has, both in terms of us making sure that weapons of mass destruction are not proliferating, as well as needing to protect our allies, our bases in the region“.

In a development that could raise pressure on him to act, American and European security sources said U.S. and allied intelligence agencies had made a preliminary assessment that chemical weapons had been used by pro-Assad forces this week.

MILITARY OPTIONS

Among the military options under consideration are missile strikes on Syrian units believed to be responsible for chemical attacks or on Assad’s air force and ballistic missile sites, U.S. officials said. Such strikes could be launched from U.S. ships or from combat aircraft capable of firing missiles from outside Syrian airspace, thereby avoiding Syrian air defenses.

Major world powers – including Russia, Assad’s main ally which has long blocked U.N.-sponsored intervention against him – have urged the Syrian leader to cooperate with U.N. chemical weapons inspectors already in Damascus to pursue earlier allegations.

Syria accuses rebels of staging the attack to provoke intervention. State television said soldiers had found chemical weapons on Saturday in tunnels that had been used by rebels.

A presenter said 5 blue and green plastic storage drums shown in video footage, along with rusty mortar bombs, grenades, domestic gas canisters and vials labeled “atropine“, a nerve gas antidote, were proof that rebels had used chemical weapons.

Separately, the state news agency SANA said soldiers had “suffered from cases of suffocation” when rebels used poison gas “as a last resort” after government forces made “big gains” against them in the Damascus suburb of Jobar.

It said clashes were still raging in the area but that the army had advanced and found “chemical agents” in rebel tunnels.

The leader of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad al-Jarba, and the head of the rebel Free Syrian Army, General Salim Idriss, denied on Saturday that rebels had used chemical weapons.

At a press conference in Istanbul, Idriss said the rebels would respond, but not with “similar crimes”.

Jabra said the “most important cause” of the attack was the silence and inaction of the international community, especially the West.

A scheduled August 25-27 conference of military chiefs of the United States, Jordan, its main Western allies and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, intended to help contain the fallout of a war spilling beyond Syria’s borders, has been given added urgency by the gas attack.

WAITING FOR OBAMA

“We had been expecting to talk mainly about stabilizing Jordan,” said a European defense source. “Instead, it will be dominated by Syria. It’s all really waiting on the Americans and what they decide they want to do …

“There have been discussions, but so far they have been very inconclusive. As the scale of what happened in Damascus becomes clear, that may change.”

U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane arrived in Damascus to press for access to the scene.

“The solution is obvious. There is a United Nations team on the ground, just a few kilometers away. It must very quickly be allowed to go to the site to carry out the necessary tests without hindrance,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said during a visit to the Palestinian territories.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Berlin expected Russia to “raise the pressure on Damascus so that the inspectors can independently investigate”.

While some of the United States’ NATO allies, including France, Britain and Turkey, have explicitly blamed Assad’s forces for the chemical attack, Russia said the rebels were impeding an inquiry and that Assad would have no interest in using poison gas for fear of foreign intervention.

“Assad does not look suicidal,” senior pro-Kremlin lawmaker Igor Morozov told Interfax news agency. “He well understands that in this case, allies would turn away from him and … opponents would rise. All moral constraints would be discarded regarding outside interference.”

Alexei Pushkov, pro-Kremlin chairman of the international affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament, said: “In London they are ‘convinced’ that Assad used chemical weapons, and earlier they were ‘convinced’ that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It’s the same old story.”

Russia said last month that its analysis indicated a projectile that hit the city of Aleppo on March 19 contained the nerve agent sarin and was most likely fired by rebels.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Assad’s most powerful Middle Eastern ally, acknowledged for the first time on Saturday that chemical weapons had killed people in Syria and called for the international community to prevent their use.

(Additional reporting by Megan Davies in Moscow, John Irish in Paris, Madeline Chambers in Berlin, Yeganeh Torbati in Dubai, Asli Kandemir and Dasha Afanasieva in Istanbul and Washington bureau; Writing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Note 1:

President Barack Obama said, "The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world's population said the use of chemical weapons are [inaudble] and passed a treaty forbidding their use, even when countries are engaged in war." </p><br /><br /><br />
<p>I guess this doesn't apply to the Israeli's. </p><br /><br /><br />
<p>GOD BLESS HYPOCRISY!
Shared by Ryan Ghandour
Phosphorous munitions is also banned by 98% of the world communities, except the 5 superpowers and Israel refused to sign on.
President Barack Obama said,
“The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98% of the world’s population said the use… of chemical weapons are inadmissible and passed a treaty forbidding their use, even when countries are engaged in war.”
Can we deduce that world conventions in periods of war do Not apply to Israeli? Political HYPOCRISY at its best application?

Note 2: I am under the impression that the Syrian army was hitting Jorba and the nerve gas stored in tunnels by the rebels detonated. Probably the Syrian government knew about the Saudi Arabia intelligence services shipping chemical gas to the rebels and wanted the world community to take notice of this escalation.  The US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and France are trying to throw smokescreens and defuse the responsibility toward the Syrian regime.

Note 3JP Chevenement wrote:

“With respect to the Convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons signed at Paris on 13 January 1993… Syria and Egypt were Not among the signatories. Why?

The Egyptian negotiator Amr Moussa explained that his country would adhere to this convention when weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, bacteriological and chemical would have eliminated the Middle East…

The NPT Review Conference [2] may 2010 aims to create a nuclear-free Middle East.

It is in this general framework that should be taken to preserve the balance of security in this region. ”

JP Chevenement


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