Even war has rules - hospitals are not targets

By Corin Kelly
Thursday, 11 August, 2016

Hospitals and health workers are being targeted in war, with attacks in Yemen, South Sudan and Afghanistan. In Syria alone Médecins Sans Frontières supported health structures have been attacked over 60 times since January 2015. We refuse to accept that this is the new normal. Even war has rules.

Dr Kathleen Thomas writes, "When I read about the recent attack on a Medecins Sans Frontieres-supported hospital in Aleppo, Syria, that resulted in 14 people being killed, including the city's last remaining paediatrician, my heart sank."

"It immediately conjured up visions of the horror that had enveloped me in Medecins Sans Frontieres' Kunduz Trauma Centre eight months earlier; being ripped from sleep by the eardrum-rupturing first explosion; my thudding heart, my shaking hands, dry retching while helplessly staring into the terrified eyes of my friend who was bleeding to death in front of me. It reminded me of my overwhelming grief as another and another and another of my friends, colleagues, patients were confirmed dead, while I tried to focus on saving the lives of countless others brutally injured - limbs ripped off, shrapnel rocketed through their bodies, pressure injuries to the eyes, ears, lungs."

I had seen them just two hours earlier and my reassurances to them that the hospital was the safest place was replaced with the horror of knowing that my intensive care patients, incapacitated, were burning to death in their beds.
"On October 3 last year, a US military AC130 gunship bombed our hospital, killing 42 people, including 14 of our own staff. I was inside."
"The bombing of our hospital in Kunduz was a high-profile international case that helped to build public awareness about the alarming trend of attacks on medical facilities in conflict zones and the apparent growing disregard for International Humanitarian Law (IHL). In 2015 alone, 75 Medecins Sans Frontieres hospitals were attacked around the world. And these were just the Medecins Sans Frontieres and Medecins Sans Frontieres-supported hospitals – only the tip of the iceberg."
You can read the full article here.

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