Syria earthquake: Thousands of injured fill Aleppo hospitals

Man holding phone in hospital bed

In the wake of last week's devastating earthquake, hospitals in Aleppo do not have enough space for additional patients, a doctor in the Syrian city told the BBC.

There are more beds than there are wards at the Al-Razi Hospital. They extend from end to end through the hallways and into the brisk courtyard.

"Despite treating the patients, we were unable to discharge them from the hospitals. The head of orthopaedics, Dr. Nizar Suleiman, stated that the city is damaged and they have nowhere to go.

"In a short period of time, a large number of patients arrived. It's extremely concerning that there is such a severe shortage of medications.

For instance, we lack the necessary medical equipment to treat fractures. Due to the crisis, we already have a shortage, and the siege [sanctions] make it worse. ".

three doctors wearing medical facemasks
Dr. According to Nizar Suleiman, the war and sanctions have resulted in a severe lack of medications.

Since a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck neighboring southern Turkey on February 6th, more than 4,400 fatalities and 7,600 injuries have been reported in northwestern Syria, according to the UN.

The destruction in Aleppo is extensive. The Syrian government provided a unique opportunity for the BBC to go there and speak with medical personnel.

The BBC team made an effort to maintain silence as it moved through the city in case it heard survivors inside the collapsed structures.

The likelihood of discovering anyone alive in the rubble more than a week after the earthquake is remote. But patients continue to come to Al-Razi Hospital.

Abu Muhammad, who was trapped under the rubble for about 24 hours, is lying on a ward with other survivors. In the earthquake, he lost his wife and three of his five children. He looks at a vibrant picture of his family taken recently on his phone.

He cries, "They went to Heaven, they are now with God.".

One thing makes him grateful: "God preserved my cellphone for the purpose of remembering them, so at least I can look at their pictures whenever I miss them," he says. ".

Man in hospital bed holds phone
A picture of Abu Muhammad's family before the disaster is displayed. Abu Muhammad lost his wife and three children.

"I still find it hard to believe what occurred to me. I occasionally think it's a nightmare or a bad dream. That can't be the case. ".

Following the loss of their homes, tens of thousands of people are now residing in churches, mosques, or in public areas and parks.

They admitted to us that they almost anticipated losing family members or valuables during the nation's ongoing civil war, which has lasted for more than ten years. .

But the earthquake came as a complete shock. They were asleep when it struck, bringing with it a new wave of suffering that they perceived to be somehow more difficult to bear.

The government claims that the economic sanctions imposed by Western nations in retaliation for alleged human rights abuses and other wrongdoings during the nation's 12-year civil war have hindered aid efforts.

The US, UK, and EU dispute this and assert that trade in necessities and humanitarian aid are not subject to the sanctions.

Despite the fact that exports of medical supplies to Syria are not expressly prohibited, regional and international banks have previously been hesitant to approve the financial transactions required for Syrians to purchase them out of fear of retaliation from Western authorities.

In a meeting with Geir Pedersen, the UN Special Envoy to Syria, on Monday, Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad demanded an end to all "unilateral coercive measures," according to Syrian state news agency Sana.

woman lying on a hospital bed
Hospitals are having trouble finding room for new patients.

Russia, Iran, and the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant organization Hezbollah, three of the government's most important allies in the civil war, have pledged assistance to regions of Syria that are under its control.

According to Syrian state media, aid has also arrived from a number of other nations, including China, Sudan, Algeria, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the BBC, Russian aid was transported to an Aleppo church's hub by lorries.

A sixth shipment of Iranian aid had also arrived, according to the semi-official Fars news agency in Iran.

In the meantime, neighboring Lebanon announced that it would open its airports and ports to nations wishing to send aid to Syria.   .

In contrast, the UN has only delivered a trickle of aid via Turkey to areas of northwestern Syria controlled by the opposition.

The Syrian government, according to Mr. Mekdad, is dedicated to "providing humanitarian aid to all those in need, in all areas, without any discrimination.". .

However, organizations in the opposition enclave are not currently accepting aid from the government out of concern that Damascus would win a propaganda victory.

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