On May 29, around 11 a.m., a bomb targeting a military recruitment center surrounded by civilian locations exploded in the town of Sinjar, Ninawa Governorate, in Northern Iraq causing at least 16 deaths and a high number of wounded, among them many civilians. Sixty patients have so far been received in the local hospital which, as most medical structures in Iraq, faces a dire lack of medical material and qualified staff. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has immediately sent supplies, consisting of materials to treat a total of 40 burn patients, sutures and anaesthetic drugs. 16 patients in need of surgery were transferred to the hospital in the nearby town of Dohuk, located in one of the Kurdish controlled provinces of Iraq and supported by MSF since 2007.
For safety reasons it is not possible for MSF teams to access the conflict area of Iraq directly. Since 2007 the organisation has established a presence in the relative safety of the Kurdish provinces in the North of the country. The aim of this presence is to supply hospitals in the northern war zone with medical material and training of staff, as well as to provide surgical treatment for war wounded transferred to the Kurdish area from the conflict zone. MSF is also able to supply hospitals in central Iraq with medical material and training.
MSF is deeply concerned about the medical situation of the civilian population of Iraq, especially the victims of the violence, who face ongoing difficulties in gaining access to medical care, medication and proper treatment.
Since 2006, MSF has set up range of activities. Surgical teams are working in two hospitals in northern Iraq. MSF is also running two reparative surgery projects, based in Jordan and Iran, for Iraqis wounded in the conflict.
MSF has also pre-positioned emergency medical supplies in the event of an influx of people who have been wounded and/or displaced following recurring conflict at the Iraq-Turkey border.
Approximately 12 hospitals in central and northern Iraq are receiving medicine and medical equipment. MSF is training hospital staff and has established mental health programs in eight hospitals in central and northern Iraq.