The tragedy in Eastern Aleppo has necessitated an increase in emergency humanitarian assistance for the expected outpouring of refugees from that totally devastated region. The deliberate targeting of hospitals and civilians with a virtual total blockade on the delivery of food, medicines, water, baby food and medical equipment has added to an already catastrophic situation in the entire country. South African humanitarian agency Gift of the Givers is preparing supplies for the expected migration of refugees to the Idlib region.
Gift of the Givers commenced assistance for Syrian refugees in December 2012 by beginning with medical support. In seventy days an ordinary building was converted into an emergency hospital. In April 2013 the relief agency took in a team of sixty specialist medical professionals from South Africa to assist and treat 7000 patients in ten days. Over a three year period they expanded the hospital, named Ar Rahma (meaning mercy), to three floors, set up a new primary health care building opposite the hospital and added a second field hospital 8km away.
This second hospital, called Al Hilal Hospital, donated by the Turkish Red Crescent to us, was established as a back up facility as there were numerous attempts to bomb Ar Rahma Hospital and because of the expanding patient overload. The combined medical facilities treat about 13 000 patients a month providing diverse facilities including renal dialysis. Primary health care outreach programmes are carried out in various centers and trauma teams are sent to areas of increased bombing of civilians.
In addition to the medical facilities GOTG have set up refugee camps, provided tents, blankets, clothes, baby milk powder and food parcels, built a warehouse to stock emergency supplies, have added a mortuary to the hospital, built a feeding centre from where cooked meals are provided daily and have a cooler room receiving sacrificial meat.
“With each month the demands on our resources keep growing. A few weeks ago we sent in supplies to Aleppo, and distributed flour, stoves and blankets to several refugee camps,” said Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.
As the massive influx of refugees and injured civilians from Aleppo and other areas are anticipated greater, supplies have to be committed to Darkoush, where all Gift of the Givers operations are centered in Syria. Plans are underway to build a third hospital dedicated for women and children, and an orphanage catering for 600 children providing care, nutrition, health and educational needs. These will also be in Darkoush.
“This is a particular joyous time for billions worldwide as universally the festive season is commemorated and respected by various cultures and religions. This year the festive season coincides with the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as per the Islamic lunar calendar. In the spirit of one mankind and universal brotherhood we ask for a prayer for peace and harmony for all the citizens of the world,” said Dr Sooliman.
GOTG have requested special assistance for the millions trapped in Syria. Contributions to Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account Number 052278611, Branch Code 057525. International contributions can be done directly from the payment portal on www.giftofthegivers.org