Save the Children: Injured and Orphaned Children Must be Evacuated from East Aleppo Today
Supplies and Staff Prepositioned to Help Families Being Evacuated
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (December 15, 2016) — As the delayed evacuation from the remaining opposition-held part of Aleppo appears to have begun, Save the Children is urging the immediate transfer of injured and orphaned/separated children to safe areas.
Save the Children has pre-positioned supplies and staff in some of the areas where families are being brought, including 10,000 food baskets and 30,000 medical kits, and 600 household kits.
Thousands of children are believed to be trapped in East Aleppo, a significant number of whom need urgent medical treatment after being injured or suffering illnesses which can’t be treated in the besieged area. Our partners reported that during the intense escalation in violence following the collapse of the ceasefire yesterday, dozens of injured children were arriving at the remaining hospitals which didn’t have the means to treat them.
Save the Children’s partners in the area report that many children have either been orphaned or separated from their families in the chaos of the recent military advances. Children on their own are incredibly vulnerable in this context.
"Children in East Aleppo are injured, distressed, malnourished and weak. They are hiding during the day from the ongoing attacks and facing below freezing temperatures at night, with no fuel to keep warm," said Nick Finney, Save the Children’s North-West Syria Country Director. "They must be evacuated today, without any further delays, to areas where we can reach them with aid and support."
Among those waiting for evacuation are around 300 humanitarian workers from Save the Children’s partners, who are still trapped in the siege with their families.
Witnesses also reported the use of deadly cluster bombs on Wednesday morning, which Save the Children has previously warned disproportionately kill and maim children.
Rami,* an aid worker with our partner organization Shafak, said yesterday that the damaged medical facilities were crowded with women and children. He told us that patients are arriving with complicated injuries, and are unable to be treated.
Rami* said: "Everyone is attending to women and children. The medics are receiving children injured with the cluster bomb shrapnel. The hospital can do nothing. They are totally paralyzed under these circumstances.
"The hospital has five people with abdominal injuries in need of operations, two others need vascular operations, five need orthopedic surgery and seven need neural operations. Most of them are dying because the doctors can’t look after them. Right now there are seven surviving on one manual ventilator because there is no oxygen."
"There have been many painful setbacks in Aleppo, resulting in death and suffering at each turn for civilians, but today there may be a ray of hope," said Carolyn Miles, Save the Children’s President and CEO. "Children, the injured and aid workers of Aleppo cannot wait any longer. We must safely evacuate the remaining civilians immediately. Battlefields are no place for children. The protection of civilians and humanitarian aid cannot be used as a bargaining chip in political or military negotiations."
Individuals can contribute to Save the Children’s response in Syria by visiting: www.savethechildren.org/syria-donate.
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