Joanna Paraszczuk – EAworldview – 21.8.2013 – Following Wednesday’s regime attacks in East Ghouta, this is a video statement made by a medical professional in a medical point in Jobar, where victims were taken. The doctor explains that medical staff were pushed beyond capacity and used huge quantities of medicines to treat victims. Civilians tried to flee the chemical gases, by hiding in basements, which increased their symptoms. The doctor says that activists must run awareness programs for civilians about what to do in the case of another gas attack.
In the name of Allah most Gracious, most Merciful!
In the early morning hours, what happened in the frontline of Jobar was that Ain Tarma was being bombed with chemical weapons.
We were aware of the situation at an early time.
Thank God, we raised our readiness and the perfection of our work. Praise be to Allah,, all the adjacent medical points responded to us, starting from Zamalka medical point, Ain Tarma medical point, Jobar medical point and all the remote medical points. Even Deir Al- Asafeer and Douma medical points have participated in the work and the medical evacuation, may Allah reward them will all the best.
The magnitude of the disaster was huge and the number of the victims and injuries was also so big. In Jobar, we consumed our stocks of Atropine and Hydrocortisone. I alone took out about 25,000 needles of Atropine from the Jobar warehouse and nearly 7,000 needles of Hydrocortisone and about 35,000 needles of various sizes. They have been distributed over the entire medical points in Jobar and Ain Tarma. The medical staff has worked with us actively and vigorously.
The number of injuries, victims and martyrs [deaths] of children and civilians was very, very big. The number of children who came to us is very big. The number of children who arrived to me alone was approximately 50. They were martyrs [dead], they did not have any signs of life.
I moved to Ain Tarma medical point and I provided them with some Atropine. I was also briefed on the work; everybody was working very hard. Some people had to retreat to other points, but they should not have moved; they must work on the front-lines.
The negative thing that happened was dealing randomly with the matter and the poor education of citizens. The gas loses its effect after half an hour, but unfortunately citizens hid in basements although the gas is heavy and it descends to basements. This increased the damage and the number of injuries. Because citizens went down into their basements, the number of injuries and martyrs [deaths] increased. And, the increase in the number of injuries resulted in an increased workload for us. So, we had to raise maximum readiness with our total disability.
We consumed approximately 200 oxygen cylinders in Jobar and Ain Tarma medical points alone.
We’ve got martyrs [deaths] among our medical staff, may Allah accept them. Our friends also passed away, may Allah accept them.
There was ignorance on the part of citizens. In such cases, they must go to the upper floors. Some people also took the initiative to set fires, which meant they had increased difficulty in breathing. This had led to more side effects; there was an overlapping of gases and inhalation of burned tire smoke and raging fire gases due to the ignorance of some people in burning tires.
This thing should not have occurred.
Now, we must work on a complete awareness program in the East Gouta regarding this matter. It should be addressed to citizens not to militants. In the case of chemical gases, they must go to open spaces and to the upper floors. I mean we must protect ourselves from mortar shelling, but we must sit in places which are exposed to air and where there is an air flow to get oxygen and reduce injuries; thus, decreasing the burden of injuries upon us. I can no longer talk! You can videotape the scene and the martyrs in front of you..
Joanna Paraszczuk is EA WorldView’s Managing Editor. An Israeli journalist, she covered Iran and the Arab World for The Jerusalem Post. Previously, she lived and worked in Russia and Ukraine. Joanna speaks fluent Hebrew and Russian and reads Persian and Arabic.