ICRC is one of the few international aid operations not to
have withdrawn their staff from Iraq in the run-up to the
in Baghdad reported a steady stream of hundreds of
patients. ICRC staff in the capital said that during
the more fierce bombardments, hospitals were receiving up
to 100 casualties per hour.
international aid organisation said while hospitals were
stretched, they were handling the situation sufficiently and
as professionally as war would allow. ICRC staff were touring
hospitals and providing first aid and surgery kits, including
150 blankets and 50 body bags to Al-Yarmouk hospital.
situation overall is extremely problematic now in terms of
clean water supply and sewage evacuation. Everybody now is
operating on back-up generators as there is hardly any power
any more,” said Notari.
the rest of the country, the ICRC continued distributing
medical supplies in the southern city of Basra, where fierce
fighting has continued for days. The international group is
also trucking water to the three main hospitals in the
neighbouring war-torn district of Al-Zubayr.
the Kindi hospital staff were reported to have been
overwhelmed by the sharp rise in casualties since US ground
troops thrust north towards Baghdad and intensified their
were carried in on sheets after stretchers ran out. With many
staff unable to reach the hospitals due to bombing, doctors
worked furiously as they performed operations, taking blood,
giving injections and ferrying the wounded.
Osama Saleh al-Duleimi, an orthopaedic surgeon and assistant
director at Kindi, said they were overloaded and suffering
from shortages of anaesthetics, painkillers and staff.
were also reportedly overwhelmed by the injuries they are
seeing, including massive trauma and fatal wounds such as
head, abdominal and limb injuries from lethal weapons.
been a doctor for 25 years and this is the worst I’ve seen
in terms of casualties and fatal wounds,” said al-Duleimi,
who also practised during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and the
1991 Gulf War.
are receiving a lot of civilian casualties,” he added.
Sadek al-Mukhtar described this war as more destructive than
the 1991 Gulf War. “In the previous battles, the weapons
seemed merely disabling; now they’re much more lethal,” he