© Robin Meldrum/MSF
25 Oct 19 25 Oct 19

Syria: Influx of casualties from shelling in northwest

On Thursday 24 October, shelling on the village of Janoudia in Idlib, northwest Syria, resulted in an influx of 17 casualties being rushed to a nearby hospital supported by MSF.

Three of these patients were children under 14 years old.

“A mass casualty influx is really intense - when the injured started arriving, we requested all of our staff to come to the hospital so that we would be able to respond"

Three of the patients died before arrival at the hospital, and one patient died a few moments after arrival. 

Six other patients were in a critical condition but could be stabilised and given treatment or referred to other hospitals. Three patients had moderate wounds and four had light injuries.

This comes as the conflict in northwestern Syria continues to cause fear, displacement and acute medical needs.

Mass casualty influx

“A mass casualty influx is really intense,” said the doctor managing the hospital.

“When the injured started arriving at 5pm yesterday, we requested all of our staff to come to the hospital so that we would be able to respond.

“The medical team was fully deployed to answer to the influx. Despite that, we had to refer one patient to another hospital because all our operating theatres and medics were occupied.

“The patient couldn’t wait. They had had a double trauma in the head and in the chest.

“We stayed up all night to treat the injured as best we could.”

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Extremely high medical needs

The need for medical services in northwestern Syria is extremely high.

Beyond the direct victims of the conflict – often from aerial bombing or shelling – there are huge needs.

More than a million people who have fled areas of fighting over the past months and years, often with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. They are extremely reliant on external assistance for food, shelter, water and medical care.

In the past month, a new MSF mobile clinic team has begun to help serve the primary healthcare and vaccination needs of families sheltering in makeshift camps in the cold mountainous terrain – where many displaced people in northwest Syria have fled.

Nevertheless, the numbers of people in need of high levels of assistance are huge. There is definitely a requirement for a general increase in the provision of humanitarian aid, specifically medical.

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