529 patients needing urgent medical care are trapped in Eastern Ghouta, an area of Syria currently under siege. They need treatment for heart disease, kidney failure, cancer and more, but must await evacuation.

14 people have already died waiting. Urge the Syrian government to evacuate them before any more lives are lost.

Syria: Evacuate patients urgently needing care

Hundreds trapped

Hundreds of men, women and children who need treatment for serious injuries or medical conditions are currently trapped in Eastern Ghouta, which has been under siege by government forces since April 2013. 

Doctors and medical workers in the area are unable to provide adequate care due to a lack of surgical supplies, equipment and medicine. Therefore, patients need to be sent to nearby Damascus immediately, where they can get the treatment they desperately need. 

Sick people are not bargaining chips

In total, 529 patients need to be sent to Damascus as soon as possible. 29 of the most critical cases have already been medically evacuated, but the others have been waiting since the summer for the government to approve their evacuations. This is not good enough – they must be allowed to leave.

We’re worried the Syrian government is trying to use people who are unwell as bargaining chips. This kind of inhumane treatment goes against international humanitarian law. These people must receive the medical treatment they need immediately – no exceptions.

We know your action works 

In August 2016, ten-year-old Ghina Ahmad Wadi (pictured below) was on her way to buy medicine for her mum in the besieged town of Madaya, Syria, when she was hit by a sniper at a government checkpoint.

The shot shattered her leg, leaving her in excruciating pain. Trapped in Madaya by Syrian government forces, Ghina was unable to get the complex surgery she desperately needed.

Ghina.jpg

We launched an appeal for Ghina to be immediately evacuated to a hospital in Damascus or Lebanon. Within 48 hours, 34,000 of you had called for her to get the specialist treatment she needed. 

As a result, Ghina was finally evacuated by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent that same month, along with her eight-year-old sister and their mother. Ghina was given painkillers to make her more comfortable and she got the operation on her leg that she desperately needed. 

You’ve done it before, so help us do it again. Demand that the Syrian government allows the evacuation of 529 patients who urgently need medical care by sending a message to Bashar Ja’afari, Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN.

Photo credit: © Mohammed Badra/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Background

In February 2017, the Syrian government captured areas bordering the Harasta neighbourhood of Eastern Ghouta. They closed all smuggling tunnels that for years had guaranteed a minimum flow of food, water, and medical supplies. 

Then, on 3 October 2017 the Syrian government further tightened the siege by closing the last remaining entry point to nearby Douma, impeding access to medical and humanitarian aid and barring civilian movement. 

Humanitarian needs

Only two aid convoys have been allowed in since, but both were significantly understocked to address the humanitarian needs of the population. All medical supplies were also removed by the government. 

Since October, the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta has significantly deteriorated with the price of medicine and basic food supplies, like milk and bread, skyrocketing.