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Iraq: ICRC assists overextended medical facilities

06-02-2007 News Release 07/2

As the deadly series of bomb attacks and military operations continue in Iraq, claiming scores of victims, the ICRC is regularly delivering medical and surgical supplies to hospitals and other health facilities in various parts of the country.

In recent days, the ICRC has provided Al-Kindi Teaching Hospital in Baghdad with enough medical and surgical supplies to treat more than 100 wounded people. Similar assistance was delivered to Hilla Surgical Hospital and to Khanaqin Hospital, respectively 60 km south and 200 km north-east of the capital.

" With attacks being carried out daily, it is as if Baghdad were in a constant state of emergency, " said Dr Adel Al-Shammari, the director of the 370-bed Al-Kindi Teaching Hospital. " We are doing our best to cope with the influx of casualties with the means at our disposal, with the support of the Ministry of Health and the help of the ICRC. Our surgical wards are always full and working conditions are extremely difficult. Of the 208 surgeons who used to work here, only 40 or so are still on duty today. "  

Following the horrendous car-bomb explosion that ripped through Baghdad's Sadriya market on 3 February, 125 injured people and 58 bodies were brought to Al-Kindi Teaching Hospital. The hospital's medical staff were stretched to the limit and the number of bodies far exceeded the capacity of the hospital's morgue. " We will have no respite as long as violence continues, " said Dr Al-Shammari, who deplored the fact that poor security conditions were preventing his staff from providing medical services the way they should.

The ICRC's emergency aid can only help relieve the burden placed on Iraqi health facilities and medical staff. The organization reiterates its call to all parties to the conflict to halt the deliberate targeting of civilians in Iraq and to spare and protect the civilian population. It also urges th em to spare and protect medical staff and facilities. 

For further information, please contact:
Nada Doumani, ICRC Iraq, tel. +962 777 399 614 or +964 79 01 91 69 27
  Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: + 41 22 730 25 90 or mobile + 41 79 251 93 18