Syria: Additional Information on Latest Hospital Bombing


An addendum to our earlier update about the February 15 bombing of a hospital in Idlib province supported by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF):

As noted yesterday, the 30-bed hospital in Ma’arat Al Numan, in Syria's Idlib Province, was hit by four missiles in two attacks within a few minutes of each other. We reported that five patients, one patient caretaker, and a hospital guard were killed. Eight staff members were missing and presumed dead. "The destruction of the hospital leaves the local population of around 40,000 people without access to medical services in an active zone of conflict," said Massimiliano Rebaudengo, MSF Head of Mission for Syria

We can now report that when the attack occurred 25 members of staff were in the hospital. And we can confirm, regrettably, that five staff members, including the hospital guard mentioned yesterday, were in fact killed in the attack. Three others were recovered from the rubble, wounded but alive. Two more remain missing. (As of February 17, 2016, these numbers now stand at nine hospital staff members and 16 patients/caretakers killed in the attack).

What’s more, we can confirm that one of the five patients killed was a child.

The current death toll now therefore stands at 11, but that number is likely to rise. Rescue workers are still looking through the rubble and starting to clean up the area.

This hospital had already been moved and rebuilt on several occasions due to earlier attacks and insecurity. Given the repetitive nature and increasing frequency of attacks on medical facilities in Syria, “We do not know if the facility will reopen in another location,” said Rebaudengo.

MSF supports more than 150 structures inside Syria; this support ranges from regular resupply of medical material to full support, where MSF pays for salaries and all the running costs of the hospital. The hospital in Ma'arat Al Numan was fully supported: MSF paid staff salaries, supplied all necessary medical materials, paid for fuel for the generators, and more. Last December, MSF also funded the rehabilitation of the hospital after an attack.

Overall, five MSF-supported hospitals have been bombed since the beginning of 2016. Fourteen staff members at these hospitals have been killed. All told, a total of 17 health facilities in Syria, including several that are not supported by MSF, have been bombed in the last six weeks alone.

The MSF-supported hospital in Ma’arat Al Numan was attacked and destroyed on Monday 15th Feb. At least seven people were killed, and at least eight are missing, presumed dead. The 30-bed hospital had 54 staff, two operating theatres, an outpatient department and an emergency room. The outpatient department treated around 1500 people a month, the ER carried out an average of 1,100 consultations a month, and around 140 operations a month, mainly orthopaedic and general surgery, were carried out in the operating theatres. MSF has been supporting this hospital since September 2015 and covered all the needs of the facility including provision of medical supplies and running costs.