UNSC Vote on Syria Cross-Border Assistance Does Not Meet Acute Need

UNSC Vote on Syria Cross-Border Assistance Does Not Meet Acute Need

July 9, 2021

After today’s UN Security Council vote to renew the cross-border humanitarian operation into Syria through the Bab al-Hawa crossing point for six months, with another six-month renewal conditional on a Secretary-General review, MedGlobal reiterates the need for ongoing and unhindered humanitarian access for Syrians.

Dr. Zaher Sahloul, MedGlobal President, said:

“A catastrophe has been averted for now, but it is shameful that politics are overriding humanitarian principles in the UN Security Council. For nearly 4 million people in northwest Syria and 2 million people in northeast Syria, half of whom are displaced and living in makeshift shelters, the cross-border humanitarian operation is a lifeline that cannot be duplicated. Half of them are children. We want to thank the Security Council penholders Norway and Ireland, as well as the U.S., UK, and France for their leadership in advocating for unhindered cross-border access. However, the reauthorization of the UN Security Council resolution with assistance coming in through just the Bab Al-Hawa crossing, for only one or two six-month periods, is simply not enough. We know that it is the most vulnerable – children, those with acute injuries or need, COVID-19 patients, families who have been displaced 6 or 7 times – who will suffer the most. Politics are putting time limits on the lives of millions of people. We must start considering an alternative humanitarian plan now to avoid future UN Security Council politics.”

Dr. Hala Alghawi, MedGlobal Turkey Country Director, said:

“While this case is better than a non-renewal of the UN Security Council resolution, it is clear that the lives, health, and wellbeing of Syrians are being used as a political bargaining chip. The cross-border humanitarian deliveries are the only way to deliver essential health care support to children, mothers, and vulnerable families in northern Syria. Inside Syria, we see so many people who do not have their basic needs met. And little by little, their lifeline is being cut off and time-bound.”

Dr. Mustafa Al Edou, MedGlobal Syria Program Manager, said:

“We at MedGlobal are working in Syria every day to support medical oxygen for hospitals, ambulance systems, and health care for the most vulnerable populations. Here in northwest Syria, more than 80% of the population needs humanitarian or health assistance. The UN cross-border humanitarian operation is the only lifeline for that. Already, over the past year we have gone from three border crossings where assistance was coming into northern Syria, to just one, Bab Al-Hawa. Today, the UN Security Council could not even vote to renew this one border crossing, our only access to international assistance, for another full year. We feel increasingly abandoned.” 

For media requests, including with health workers in Syria, please contact Kat Fallon, Director of Policy & Communications, at [email protected].

MedGlobal Deeply Concerned about Devastating Violence Against Civilians in Gaza

For Immediate Release
May 11, 2021

MedGlobal is deeply concerned about the latest escalation of violence in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. At least 26 Palestinians, including 9 children, were killed in Gaza from airstrikes in the last 24 hours. This comes after an escalation in hostilities amid ongoing protests against the forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

MedGlobal supports health programming in Gaza, including support for the COVID-19 response and children’s emergency health care. Our health staff in Gaza are currently safe, but the escalation of violence is impacting everyone.

Rajaa, MedGlobal’s Program Director in Gaza, said:

“They asked for people to donate blood in the hospital, and I want to go, but I can’t leave my home because there have been too many attacks, even from the sea.

There have been at least 26 people killed here in Gaza, including at least 9 children, from the shelling and at least 200 people are injured. We are worried that the situation may escalate today and this week. Pray for Gaza, we are under severe bombing.”

MedGlobal also condemns the blocking of emergency medical aid to injured Palestinians in the in the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem, and the reported police violence against Palestinian Red Crescent health workers. In the last five years, there have been at least 690 emergency medical workers injured and 68 ambulances damaged or destroyed throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, as documented by the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition. This is in addition to a longstanding blockade on Gaza, which has led to an acute lack of access to comprehensive health care and chronic shortages of critical medicine and medical equipment. A recent COVID-19 second wave, the ongoing electricity crisis, and a lack of safe drinking water further exacerbate the dire situation for civilians in Gaza. 

Lucine Saleh, MedGlobal Executive Director, said:

“It is civilians – children, women, and men who are already living in harsh conditions – who bear the brunt of these hostilities. We urge the international community to take immediate steps to end these hostilities, protect civilians, and ensure access to medical care for everyone, including those in besieged Gaza.”

For media requests, including with health workers in Gaza, please contact Kat Fallon, Director of Policy & Communications, at [email protected].

Press Release: Devastating Fire Hits Rohingya Refugee Camps, Causes Medical Emergency

For Immediate Release
March 23, 2021

Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh – Yesterday, a devastating fire tore through the overcrowded Balukhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The fire destroyed thousands of tents and huts, killed several people, and led to countless refugees without homes or shelter. 

Labib Tazone, MedGlobal’s Bangladesh Program Manager based in Cox’s Bazar, said: “I have never seen such a fire. The camp is decimated, and even now that the fire subsided, people are still getting burns from the coals and the melted plastic around the camp. These people have been displaced two times. For many, there is nothing left.”

MedGlobal has been providing health care to Rohingya refugees in the Cox’s Bazar camps, where around 900,000 Rohingya refugees currently live, since 2017 along with our local partners. Fortunately, all MedGlobal staff are safe and the clinic MedGlobal supports alongside Prantic and OBAT Helpers was not affected by the fire. The MedGlobal team is heartbroken for the refugees who have been through this devastating fire, after having already faced violence, displacement, and years in the most densely populated refugee camps in the world. 

Lucine Saleh, MedGlobal Executive Director, said: “Rohingya refugees, who have been displaced by unthinkable ethnic cleansing and forced displacement, are now left without homes again after this devastating camp fire. We are worried about their health and safety, and our medical team is working quickly to respond to the greatest needs of those in the camps. This is an emergency.” 

The MedGlobal health team in Bangladesh is providing emergency medical services to those affected by the fire, and treated 67 wounded people in the first 24 hours after the fire subsided. Medical assistance is particularly important, as several health facilities at Balukhali were completely destroyed by the fire.

MedGlobal is leading an emergency fundraiser to support this urgent health response in the Balukhali refugee camp.

For media inquiries, contact MedGlobal’s Director of Policy & Communications Kat Fallon at [email protected].

Press Release: U.S. Withdrawal From WHO Is Detrimental to Global Health

June 3, 2020

Washington, DC – MedGlobal strongly disagrees with the announcement that the U.S. will end its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), made on May 29. This decision puts millions of lives at risk, particularly refugees, internally displaced persons, and other vulnerable communities, as the world struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The U.S. has been a member of the WHO since it was established in 1948 and the largest contributor to its global health funding. The WHO is the United Nations’ health agency, and its mandate includes monitoring public health risks and coordinating responses to health emergencies. It has been the leading global body in the COVID-19 response, overseeing strategic preparedness and response as well as the provision of supplies, training, coordination, and capacity building alongside its government and NGO partners.

“This is a sad day for global health and the U.S. leadership. While the WHO is not a perfect agency, it is the most critical global body to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The WHO is leading the coordination of the global COVID-19 response and providing lifesaving assistance to those most in need. As MedGlobal supports communities facing humanitarian crises and disasters, we are acutely aware of the importance of the WHO on individual lives, and this decision will lead to lives lost,” said Dr. Zaher Sahloul, MedGlobal Co-founder and President.

“This is a critical moment. We have just seen the first death from COVID-19 in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. In Yemen, the rate of COVID-19 patients who die after becoming infected is nearly three times the global average. The U.S. has been a leading donor and member of the WHO since its establishment, and pulling out will exacerbate the deadly effects of COVID-19 among the most at-risk population like these,” said Dr. Hena Ibrahim, MedGlobal Executive Director.

MedGlobal provides free and life-saving healthcare to refugees, IDPs, and vulnerable communities in Bangladesh, Colombia, Greece, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, and Gaza, all of which are bracing for catastrophic effects of COVID-19 outbreaks. MedGlobal is also supporting marginalized communities in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, including healthcare for Indigenous people in the Navajo Nation and a community testing site and safety net hospital for underserved populations in Chicago. The MedGlobal team is acting with urgency to support brave frontline health workers and vulnerable communities during this COVID-19 pandemic. 

For media inquiries, contact MedGlobal’s Advocacy Advisor Kat Fallon at [email protected].