Dr. Salam T. Ismael (General secretary of Doctors For Iraq Society - Iraq) - BRussells Tribunal (26/06/2006)

Doctors for Iraq has received reports that an estimated 3,250 families from the city of Ramadi have been forced to flee the city because of the threat of an imminent US/ Iraqi military attack on the city. 

Ramadi is the capital of Anbar Province in the west of Iraq and is home to an estimated 500,000 people. Many thousands of people are now displaced trying to flee the city in fear of a military assault on Ramadi. 

Residents described severe shortages of water and electricity in the past seven days especially in the Al Tameem and Al Azizia quarters of the city. 

All entrances and exists to the city have been sealed off by the US/ Iraqi military with reports of only one passage remaining open through the Al Warar bridge that provides a route out of Ramadi. 

Local shops and markets have remained closed for the past seven days causing a shortage in food as people are unable to buy provisions because the city is under an ongoing military curfew. 

Eyewitness describes a large number of US military units surrounding the city with the formation of two US military bases towards the east and west of the city. Residents have told Doctors for Iraq that the main government building has been occupied by the US military. 

Reports have been received of a large number of snipers in the centre of Ramadi impacting on the movement of civilians trying to escape the city and restricting the movement of doctors and medical units. Doctors for Iraq have received reports of casualties caused by sniper fire. 

The presence of US/ Iraqi military snipers and checkpoints is severely restricting the movement of ambulances and medical personnel in the city. Ramadi has four main hospitals with the main general hospitals still functioning trying to meet the needs of patients and casualties.  

This military activity and the threat of a US/ Iraqi military attack on the city along with checkpoints, curfew and an incursion of the city is having a major impact on delivery of health services for people. A Doctors for Iraq assessment team in Ramadi reports of a severe shortage of medicine and medical equipment such as IV fluids, surgical sutures, antibiotics and aesthetic drugs. Our teams described the situation in the city and the plight of displaced families as being desperate. 

Doctors for Iraq know that an estimated 1,000 displaced families have fled to Heet, West Iraq. 

The displaced people are being forced to live in old unused buildings and schools and are facing a shortage of food, water, blankets and medical care.  

Already our medical teams have seen cases of young children suffering from diarrhoea and reported adults facing a shortage of drugs to control hyper tension and ischemic heart disease (angina). 

Doctors for Iraq is deeply concerned about the general humanitarian situation in Ramadi. The health infrastructure in the area has been severely impacted on by continuous military attacks in the area. Doctors for Iraq are concerned about the plight of thousands of civilians who have fled the city and the many civilians that remain in the city. 

Doctors for Iraq is calling for: 

· An immediate stop to any planned military attack on a densely populated city full of civilians. 

· International NGO’s and agencies to assist internally displaced people fleeing Ramadi and civilians that remain inside the city so they have water, food, shelter and protection. 

· Assistance to provide medical humanitarian aid to civilians in need and to provide medication and medical equipment to hospitals in need. 

· Doctors for Iraq calling on the US/ Iraqi military and all armed actors to uphold the principles of international law and ensure that civilians have a safe passage out of the city and can access healthcare free of intimidation and violence. 

For more information about the medical needs of hospitals please contact Doctors for Iraq at:

press.officer@doctorsforiraq.org or projects.manager@doctorsforiraq.org

  source: BRussels Tribunal:  http://www.brusselstribunal.org/home.htm#thousands  


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