Emergency appeal for Iraqi hospitals attacked by US forces

News and Press Release
Originally published
Hospitals in the Iraqi cities of Haditha and Al-Qa'im are under attack by US forces. MADRE is working to raise emergency support for doctors and patients under siege through an initiative of the Doctors for Iraq Society.

Please read and forward the message below, which was sent to us by a friend in Lebanon. Follow this link to make a tax-deductible contribution to this emergency appeal. Please indicate "For Iraqi Hospitals" in the notes field of the donation form.

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Urgent Request for Help from the West of Iraq

An urgent humanitarian crisis is unfolding in occupied west Iraq.

US occupation soldiers have conducted simultaneous military operations in cities across the west of Iraq. Between May - June 2005, the heaviest of these attacks took place in the cities of Haditha and Al-Qa'im. These cities and surrounding villages are home to an estimated 300,000 people.

Eyewitnesses and medical personnel in the area have described how US soldiers prevented food and medication from reaching Haditha and Al-Qa'im and targeted the cities' two main hospitals, medical staff, and ambulances.

US soldiers violated the Geneva Convention and international law by preventing civilians from accessing healthcare. Eyewitnesses reported at least one patient being shot dead in his bed on a hospital ward. Doctors were prevented from assisting patients and civilians in need. A number of doctors and medical personnel were killed in the attack and others were arrested by US forces in the hospital. They were later released, along with the hospital manager who was detained for two days.

The huge military operations in the area have caused widespread damage and an unknown number of civilians were killed and injured during the attack.

Video footage shot by doctors shows a badly damaged medical store in the Haditha hospital and damaged surgical theatres. The medical store contained medicine and equipment for all hospitals and medical centers in the west of Iraq. Staff and patients say the damage was carried out "by violent and barbaric US soldiers."

The Doctors for Iraq Society and other Iraqi organizations working in the area are asking for urgent assistance from outside Iraq to help equip the hospital with medication and other essential supplies.

Medical staff need basic medicines and supplies, such as surgical kits, laundry units, and laboratory equipment.