Staff of the Order of Malta’s worldwide relief agency forced to abandon supported hospital
“The situation is highly threatening, and the extent of the human suffering taking place is beyond description”, said Sid Peruvemba, Malteser International’s Vice Secretary General, the Order of Malta’s worldwide relief agency. “Our biggest humanitarian concern is that the civil population in the formerly opposition-held areas will be denied lifesaving assistance. We are receiving worrying reports of arbitrary arrests, mass detention, and of men disappearing without trace”. Staff at the Malteser International-supported blood bank and paediatric hospital in eastern Aleppo, were forced to end their operations and flee from the fighting.
Although control over Aleppo has become an important symbol of the balance of power in the Syrian Civil War, its capture by no means marks the end of the conflict. Widespread violence continues, especially in the north of the country, and could even be set to worsen. Providing humanitarian assistance in order to save human lives remains the highest priority. “Together with our Syrian partner, we will be distributing blankets and shelters to around 2,200 families who have lost everything in the battle for Aleppo, and have fled to seek shelter in the neighbouring Idlib region,” said Peruvemba. At least 6,000 people have left the city since last Thursday, but the UN says at least 50,000 are still trapped.
Malteser International has been providing primary and secondary health care services for internally-displaced people at the Syrian-Turkish border in cooperation with a Syrian partner organisation since 2013.
Starting from the onset of the Syrian war, the Lebanese association of the Order of Malta has also scaled up its operations to provide medical and social assistance to the many Syrian refugees taking shelter in the country. Mobile medical units ensure that medicines and basic health items are distributed regularly to the refugees and that every individual can access doctors and nurses for health reasons.