10 November 2016
The Red Cross is supporting the only hospital near Mosul that can treat the wounded and sick fleeing fighting in the area.
As the violence near the Iraqi city intensifies, tens of thousands of people have left surrounding villages seeking safety.
Some have been wounded and need immediate medical attention.
Sara Alzawqari, spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Iraq, said: “Shikhan Hospital is the only hospital in Nineveh province that is still working.
“It is receiving war-wounded cases because of the ongoing military operations. These wounded are from the areas which have been retaken.”
Once a local community hospital with just 50 beds, Shikhan Hospital is now treating anyone needing medical attention.
Wards are filling with injured people and the Red Cross is supporting hospital staff to cope with the influx of patients.
More patients can now be treated
The ICRC helped the hospital to build two additional operating theatres so it can offer surgery to more patients. Medical and surgical equipment has also been provided.
Red Cross doctors have been training existing hospital staff on war surgery, chemical weapon decontamination and first aid for war-wounded patients. A new Red Cross doctor and nurse have joined the hospital team and will continue the on-the-job training.
The hospital’s Dr Hushyar Mustafa Omar said: “We have received patients with shell wounds and gun shots.
“We are ready to receive any kind of wounds day and night. We have staff and doctors on shifts 24 hours a day.”
Wounded civilians now need care
The first patients to need treatment were young men wounded in battle, but civilians are now starting to arrive.
“We have met many civilian casualties in the hospital,” said Alzawqari. “We met a lady whose house was hit and her son died. She’s currently waiting to be operated on.”
Civilians live in the path of the fighting in and around Mosul. It is estimated up to one million people could flee as the conflict continues.
Hospitals like the one in Shikhan are vital and the Red Cross calls for them to be protected from the fighting.
Latest Red Cross updates from Mosul
The Red Cross has supported tens of thousands of people around Mosul in the past few weeks.
- Our partner the Iraqi Red Crescent Society is providing emergency support to 26,000 people who fled to camps outside the city. This includes cooked meals, clean water, relief items and medical care. People who are seriously ill or wounded are transported to the hospital.
- In Al Qayyarah, near Mosul, the ICRC distributed essential emergency supplies including food, blankets, personal hygiene items, cooking tools and detergents to over 10,000 people in the past few days. The same amount of supplies will be distributed this week.
- The ICRC has been training emergency response volunteers and staff in northern Iraq in emergency first aid. This will help them treat and transport casualties to nearby medical centres or hospitals.