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Syria: Little hope left for Aleppo’s children

Staff and patients were trapped for hours in fear of their lives as aircraft circled above the hospital. Photo: Mahmoud al Fani / Malteser International

Cologne/Kilis: The Malteser International-supported children’s hospital in besieged Aleppo was damaged by barrel bombs on the morning of November 16. Patients and most hospital operations had already been moved into the cellar of the building weeks ago in order to provide a basic level of security in the face of constant air attacks on the besieged portions of the city. Yesterday’s bombing caused major damage to the cellar, where staff and patients were trapped for hours in fear of their lives as aircraft circled above the hospital.

“Human rights and international law have been trodden underfoot in Syria for months. Our local partners have lost all hope of peace. The work of the doctors and nurses in the pediatric hospital is one of the few remaining signs of humanity and compassion in the city,” said Janine Leitmeyer, Malteser International’s Middle East Manager, speaking from the Turkish border town of Kilis.

The hospital resumed operations the day after the bombing, however humanitarian aid has been unable to access the besieged parts of eastern Aleppo for months, and supplies at the hospital are running low. Stocks of many medications have already run out. If aid supplies are not able to enter the city soon there will be little that the few remaining medical facilities can do for the besieged population. The closure of the children’s hospital would leave around 90,000 children remaining in the city without access to pediatric care.

Malteser International has been supporting the pediatric hospital since July 2015 – paying the salaries of staff members, and financing the purchase of equipment including ventilators and incubators. Malteser International also provides medical care for around 300,000 people living near the Syrian-Turkish border at four basic health units operated by its partner organization. More than half of these are internally displaced people living in camps.

For editors: Janine Lietmeyer, Malteser International’s Middle East Manager is available for interviews.
Contact: Tel.: +49 (0)221 9822 155, katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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Katharina Kiecol
+49-(0)221-96441-181
Email: katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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