Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Conflict’ Category

WHO renews its call for the protection of health workers and for immediate access to besieged populations.


Seven years of Syria’s health tragedy

News release

After seven years of conflict in Syria, WHO has renewed its call for the protection of health workers and for immediate access to besieged populations.

Attacks on the health sector have continued at an alarming level in the past year. The 67 verified attacks on health facilities, workers, and infrastructure recorded during the first two months of 2018 amount to more than 50% of verified attacks in all of 2017.

“This health tragedy must come to an end,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Every attack shatters communities and ripples through health systems, damaging infrastructure and reducing access to health for vulnerable people. WHO calls on all parties to the conflict in Syria to immediately halt attacks on health workers, their means of transport and equipment, hospitals and other medical facilities.”

Health systems are being attacked in the very places where they are needed most. An estimated 2.9 million Syrians live in UN-declared hard-to-reach and besieged locations. WHO is providing health assistance to many of these areas but lacks consistent access.

In East Ghouta, nearly 400,000 people have lived under siege for half a decade. Basic health supplies have all but run out, and there are now more than 1,000 people in need of immediate medical evacuation.

“It is unacceptable that children, women, and men are dying from injuries and illnesses that are easily treatable and preventable,” said Dr Tedros.

Critical medical supplies are also routinely removed from inter-agency convoys to hard-to-reach and besieged locations. Earlier this month, more than 70% of the health supplies intended to reach East Ghouta were removed by authorities and sent back to the WHO warehouse. The items removed are desperately needed to save lives and reduce suffering.

Seven years of conflict have devastated Syria’s healthcare system. More than half of the country’s public hospitals and healthcare centres are closed or only partially functioning and more than 11.3 million people need health assistance, including 3 million living with injuries and disabilities.

WHO is committed to ensuring that people across Syria have access to essential, life-saving healthcare. Last year, WHO delivered over 14 million treatments across the country, including through cross-border and cross-line services.

“The suffering of the people of Syria must stop. We urge all parties to the conflict to end attacks on health, to provide access to all those in Syria who need health assistance, and, above all, to end this devastating conflict,” said Dr Tedros.

Syrian government forces defied a new U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire on Sunday by launching a ground offensive, sustaining their airstrikes and allegedly dropping at least one bomb laden with chlorine against a rebel-held enclave outside Damascus.

Washington Post

Syrian enclave: “….Medical organisations said at least four clinics and hospitals, including a maternity centre, were bombed on Monday, some of them multiple times, putting them out of service. An anaesthetist was killed in the attacks. ….”

The Guardian


February 13, 1945: A series of Allied firebombing raids begins against the German city of Dresden, reducing the city to rubble and killing as many as 135,000 people with the bombing and the resulting fires.


Arab media and a monitoring group reported that a Syrian chemical weapons production facility was targeted by Israeli military.


“…..The incident comes a day after UN human rights investigators said they had concluded a Syrian Air Force jet had dropped a bomb containing the nerve agent Sarin on a rebel-held town in April.

At least 83 people were killed in that attack, most of them women and children, according to the investigators……”

Thousands of people have fled their homes following two days of violence in a deepening crisis in the state of Rakhine in Myanmar.


“…..Fighting erupted when Rohingya fighters attacked 30 police stations on Friday and clashes continued on Saturday……”


Myanmar: More than 70 people were killed on Friday in clashes between militants and security forces in Rakhine State.

NY Times

  • “…The dead included at least 12 members of the security forces and at least 59 Rohingya insurgents…”

Burma News

  • “…..The national commission, led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan…. pressed the government to take “urgent and sustained action”, including improving the low socio-economic development in Rakhine State, resolving citizenship status and accelerating the national verification process and ensuring the freedom of movement for all people….”


A slow death in Yemen: War, malnutrition, cholera and no end in sight

NY Times


Post-ISIS: Yazidi women after 3 years of captivity displaying extraordinary signs of psychological injury.

NY Times



Hawaii is the first state to prepare the public for the possibility of a ballistic missile strike from North Korea.


DOD Hawaii

HI-EMA-guidance-analysis-nuclear-detonation-JUN-2017-1:  Document

Hawaii sector

Sirens sound Attack- Warning signal
Emergency Alert System (EAS) advisory
Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system advisory
Brilliant white light (flash) is observed

1. If you are indoors, stay indoors well away from windows. 2. If you are outdoors, seek immediate shelter in a building preferably a concrete structure such as a commercial building or parking structure. 3. If you are driving, pull safely to the side of the road and seek shelter in a nearby building or lie flat on the ground. 4. DO NOT look at the flash of light.

• Surviving the immediate effects of a nuclear detonation (blast, shock, thermal radiation, initial nuclear radiation) requires sheltering in resistant structures • You may have only minutes to take protective action – take immediate action without delay • There are no designated blast or fallout shelters in Hawaii • Light generated by the weapon will damage unprotected eyes

1. Remain sheltered until you are told it is safe to leave or two weeks (14 days) have passed, whichever comes first. 2. You may be advised that it is safe to leave your shelter for short periods of time to locate food, water and medical care. 3. Electrical, water and other utilities may be severely disrupted or unavailable.

• Following the detonation, sheltering from radioactive fallout for up to 14 days is critically important • Public may need to briefly leave their shelters to locate essential supplies and equipment • Emergency Management will assess residual radiation levels and advise when sheltering can be discontinued

1. Listen to local AM-FM radio stations for official information. 2. Cell phone, television, radio and internet services will be severely disrupted or unavailable. 3. Small portable walkie-talkies may give you communication with nearby shelters.

• Local AM-FM broadcast radio is most survivable and may be useful in advising the public post-detonation • Other communication technologies may be damaged by weapons effects such as EMP1 • FRS2 and GMRS radios are widely available in the community and may be useful in keeping people in communication with one another.



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