Amputation Common as No Doctors Left in Yarmouk Camp

From the Jafra Foundation for Relief and Youth Development:

"Yarmouk Camp Situation Update

April 18, 2016

After 12 days of ongoing clashes, Yarmouk Camp's civilians remain in the midst of clashing parties, experiencing dire and tragic conditions. The prevailing situation has placed even more severe constraints on those 10,000 civilians inside Yarmouk Camp.

Clashes erupted 12 days ago, after ISIS seized the checkpoint between Yarmouk Camp and the neighboring suburb of Yelda, completely cutting off civilian access to any and all supplies. Since that time ISIS has taken a large part of the Camp, approximately 70%, with Nusra and allied Palestinian fighters controlling about 15% of Yarmouk Camp. The Syrian regime remains in control of the north of the Camp.

Heavy sniping has killed 7 civilians, 2 of them children, and injured another 5 persons. Samer Wali Ghanam, 18-year old Malak Othman, and Yehya Asmar, 12-years old, are among those killed by sniping. Yesterday, April 16, 2016, Hisham Zawabe, a member of the Civil Committee for Relief was killed outside his house by a sniper. Main streets of the camp have been heavily sniped, including Yarmouk Street, the main street running through the middle of the camp.

Wounded or dead are unable to be evacuated from the streets due to continuous sniping. The bodies of those killed remained in the streets for days before a team of volunteers from the Palestinian Red Crescent were able to remove them. In the past 12 days, 2 civilians have been beheaded by ISIS militants.

Health care inside the camp is completely absent, with one medical center at Palestine Hospital unable to treat civilians due to an absence of any medical supplies or fuel to operate equipment. Amputation has become a common form of treatment to save lives, as surgical tools and equipment are unable to be used and no doctors remain in the Camp. As reported previously, Basel Hospital, the only other hospital in Yarmouk Camp, has been destroyed by ISIS. Medical supplies and medicines are extremely urgent for those injured and sick.

Schools inside Yarmouk Camp remain closed, as a 10-year old boy was sniped and killed on the first day of clashes, April 7, 2016. Al Jaramak School has published its hope to reopen in the coming days to resume education services for those thousands of children inside the camp.

Today, Monday, April 18, 2016, a small group relief volunteers began delivering water for external use only to 6 distribution points inside the Camp. As ground water inside the Camp has been contaminated, there is a large need for purchasing drinking water and providing Aqua tabs for those who remain inside Yarmouk Camp. Civilians, including hundreds of children, have been diagnosed with typhoid, jaundice and Hepatitis. No medicines are available to treat those diseases present amongst the population and families have attempted to risk further epidemics by refraining from drinking ground well water. Those wells that were being used have been destroyed by ISIS inside the camp.

Families inside Yarmouk Camp are completely reliant on humanitarian organizations to provide them with their basic needs. The last food distribution for Yarmouk Camp families took place in March 2016. Food stocks have been depleted. Civilians have called for a ceasefire to allow civilians to access supplies, for the main water supply from Damascus to resume serving civilian families, stating that warring parties inside the Camp have not been affected by the man-made drought, and for a cease of all sniping.

The relief committee inside Yarmouk Camp, in coordination with the Palestinian Relief Committee of South Damascus, have negotiated for a 3-hour ceasefire which will allow families inside the area a window of opportunity to retrieve supplies from neighboring Yelda and return to the Camp if they so choose. Families in the south of the Camp on Oroba Street had a window of three hours today to retrieve supplies.

Jafra Foundation calls on all parties to the conflict to open a humanitarian corridor allowing families to retrieve supplies while simultaneously halting all targeting of civilians - especially women and children. Jafra Foundation also calls on the international community to negotiate a truce and protect all civilians inside Yarmouk Camp."

sent by Nidal Bitari

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