On the 7th January 2018 the Primary Health Clinic supported by Hands Up, and managed on the ground by SAMS, was hit during an airstrike and severely damaged. No one was injured and the clinic has been evacuated. SAMS are now working on relocating staff and equipment to continue providing this vital local service and we do expect this project to keep going. The new location will depend on security, the medical need in the area, and where the population moves as a result of the increasing violence.
On the evening of the same day, there was an explosion in Idleb City about 50m from the Kindergarten Hands Up funds, which is managed on the ground by Shafak. The Kindergarten was damaged, but neither staff nor children were injured. It will be closed for at least the next few days.
The generous donations we have received in support of these projects are safe and will be still be used for them.
This area in the north west of Syria has faced increased fighting over the last few weeks, with Government forces advancing from the south, and the uptake in airstrikes is expected to continue in the short-term. SAMS have reported at least 10 attacks on health facilities since the 1st of January 2018 with the death of at least 3 staff. The health services provided by the staff at these clinics and hospitals are life-sustaining and life-saving. In Abu Althuhour, between March and November 2017, they carried out over 44,741 consultations. One maternity hospital in the city of Ma’arat al-Nu’man was hit 3 times in 4 days, it is the only one of its kind in the area, leaving the women there without. It is hard to believe that the continued attacks on health facilities are a coincidence. Regardless, the least these doctors, nurses, guards – and the people they look after – deserve, is protection.
As the fighting intensifies and moves, those who have already had to flee their homes and shelters – perhaps several times (IDPs) – must move again, taking the need for hospitals and schools with them. The projects we support (including the Kindergarten in Idleb City and the Primary Health Clinic once an appropriate location has been identified) will continue where it is safe and required, but the cost rises as the need for further fortification of buildings and for repairs increases. Continuing to support these projects is our response to the worsening situation in Idleb, they offer protection to and strengthen the resilience of civilian communities, without which hope for Syria’s future is drastically reduced.
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