WHO Palais briefing notes on Yarmouk - 10 April 2015
Published on 10 Apr 2015
Since 1 April, fighting has escalated in Yarmouk, including heavy gunfire, shelling and rockets, resulting in serious health risks for civilians, disruption of humanitarian assistance and the death of a Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) aid worker.
Most of the 18,000 civilians, including 3,500 children, trapped in besieged Yarmouk are at extreme risk of death, serious injury, trauma and displacement.
The situation is becoming dire for residents injured in the fighting as insurgent groups have reportedly taken over three area hospitals, while the Palestine Hospital also located inside Yarmouk was hit by mortar shells on 1 April, resulting in injuries to at least 5 PRCS volunteers.
Some medical services have been suspended, while medical staff have withdrawn from a hospital after insurgents gained control of the facility. It has been reported that the service is now limited to insurgents only.
A severe shortage of transfusion blood has been reported in Yarmouk and surrounding areas
Response by WHO/health sector:
WHO is concerned with the appalling humanitarian situation in Yarmouk, where food and water supplies are extremely low, which seriously undermines the health of people.
WHO is joining calls for an end to the fighting and the opening of a humanitarian corridor for health and all other humanitarian actors. If it doesn’t happen soon, the humanitarian crisis will only deteriorate further.
WHO is monitoring the situation through focal points in rural Damascus and is ready to assist UNWRA, which is the main provider of humanitarian assistance to Palestinians inside the Yarmouk camp.
A WHO-contracted NGO has visited Al-Tadamon to follow up on the needs of Yarmouk evacuees and reported that 10 injured people were checked into an NGO clinic, which has requested WHO’s support for providing medical assistance. WHO is currently preparing the shipment.
WHO is ready to support preparedness and surveillance of communicable diseases in Yarmouk, and to provide critical medicines and other essential supplies.
In 2014, WHO Syria supported UNRWA with a mobile clinic and provided over 34,500 medical treatments to Palestinians in need. Since the beginning of 2015, WHO supported over 50 operations on evacuees from Yarmouk.