SAVING LIVES UNDERGROUND: A CASE FOR FORTIFIED HOSPITALS IN SYRIA

Health facilities in Syria are systematically targeted on a scale unprecedented in modern history.



WITH THE TARGETING OF OUR HOSPITALS, I DON’T THINK ANYTHING CAN PROTECT OUR MEDICAL STAFF EXCEPT BEING UNDERGROUND.

Dr. Husan, Hospital Director at hospital in Idlib (unnamed for security)

There have been over 454 attacks on hospitals in the last six years, with


91% of the attacks perpetrated by the Assad government and Russia. During the last six months of 2016, the rate of attacks on healthcare increased dramatically. Most recently, in April 2017 alone, there were 25 attacks on medical facilities, or one attack every 29 hours.

While the international community fails to protect Syrian medics from systematic aerial attacks on their hospitals, Syrians have developed an entire


underground system to help protect patients and medical colleagues as best they can. The fortification of medical facilities is now considered a standard practice in Syria. Field hospitals have been driven underground, into basements, fortified with sandbags and cement walls, and into caves. These facilities have saved the lives of co


untless health workers and patients, preserved critical donor-funded equipment, and helped prevent displacement by providing communities with emergency care. However, while Syrian medics have adapted their operations to fit these unique horrors, international donor governments have not adapted their funding.

Donors often see the reinforcement and building of underground medical facilities exclusively as long-term aid, or development work. However, as the Syria crisis is classified as a protracted emergency conflict, medical organizations do not currently have access to such long-term funds.


Read the full report on Syria Campaign website.







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