The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) is grateful that as of last Thursday, December 15, over 9,500 civilians were evacuated from besieged eastern Aleppo City. Unfortunately, among those who were evacuated, 1,400 were in need of medical attention, and many were critically wounded or chronically ill. More than 90 were children, including infants suffering from acute malnutrition. The siege of the eastern part of Aleppo City lasted over 140 days of siege, and many civilians who boarded the evacuation buses had not received food or water in days. In addition, the freezing temperatures and long grueling rides, sometimes staying on the buses for 24 hours, increased their susceptibility to winter illnesses.
In order to respond to the emergency situation and provide medical care to these evacuated patients, SAMS deployed two mobile clinics to the border of the city to treat patients as they were being evacuated. So far, SAMS has treated patients suffering from infections, skin diseases, and gastroenteritis among other conditions. Many civilians, who had endured months of siege with limited resources and food,were treated for malnutrition. For patients who required additional treatment, SAMS deployed seven ambulances to receive the patients at collection points and transport them to designated hospitals with ICU and emergency capabilities.
SAMS is currently supporting five hospitals in Idlib, the governorate directly west of Aleppo, where patients are being evacuated. We have already sent additional supplies, medication, and personnel to prepare for the influx of patients.
SAMS supported 150 medical personnel in East Aleppo, who were among the few remaining providers of healthcare in the besieged city. All of our medical facilities were bombed out of service during the siege, but our medical personnel stayed in eastern Aleppo until the very end. Despite constant airstrikes and insufficient resources, our medical personnel continued to treat the overwhelming number of injured with what medication and supplies they had. As of Friday, December 16, all of our medical personnel have been evacuated safely from eastern Aleppo City. These brave medical workers have risked their lives to save others, and SAMS is proud to continue to support our medical workers and patients as they recover from months of siege, targeted attacks, traumatic events, and horrific violence.
As the evacuation of citizens out of East Aleppo continues intermittently, SAMS is working to treat every patient in need. We have provided shelter for our medical staff and in the coming weeks we will start building two underground medical facilities in Idlib, open clinics in newly established refugee camps, and expand several of our facilities that are still in service across Syria. These patients are arriving cold, hungry, and tired, and SAMS is honored to bring comfort to these people who have been displaced, and show them that they have not been forgotten.