What is the ICRC doing to help hospitals treating the war-wounded in Iraq?
Despite the fierce fighting, the ICRC is striving to support the fine work being done by Iraqi hospital personnel in Baghdad, Basra, Erbil and the surrounding areas by keeping a close eye on their needs in terms of surgical material, water and electricity.
ICRC teams monitor sanitation conditions and, depending on the urgency of the situation and on security constraints, doctors and water and sanitation engineers visit the hospitals concerned so that they can assess needs on the spot and organize the delivery of supplies.
Since the war broke out, the ICRC has provided dressing material for the war-wounded, IV kits, suture material, surgical equipment, body bags, blankets and assorted supplies for first-aid posts. It is also producing coats for surgeons and gowns for the wounded.
In Baghdad, the ICRC has distributed nearly two tonnes of surgical material - enough to treat 100 war-wounded - to Al-Kindi general hospital. It is also visiting and supporting other hospitals, in particular Al-Yarmouk general teaching hospital and Al-Karama and Al-Mansour hospitals.
Water is essential for maintaining adequate sanitation conditions. The ICRC delivers drinking water in one-litre bags to hospitals, orphanages and feeding centres in order to cover their needs and prevent shortages in the event of water cuts. Additional drinking water is also brought in by tanker truck.
In Baghdad, the five main surgical hospitals have received emergency supplies of drinking water (80,000 litres delivered by tanker truck and 23,000 litres in plastic bags). Moreover, the ICRC has completed the installation of underground steel storage tanks in two hospitals, thus increasing the quantity of water available for operating theatres and emergency services by 50 per cent. It is also helping several hospitals to maintain and repair the emergency generators needed to supply electricity and ensure that medical p ersonnel can continue to work.