01-12-2011 | Middle East

Syria: first-aiders on full alert around the clock

ENG

Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers, working in completely unpredictable situations, do not hesitate to put their own lives at risk to save the lives of others. After one of them lost his life a few months back evacuating an injured person in an ambulance, his fellow volunteers became more determined than ever to continue to perform their life-saving tasks. That kind of commitment is usually hard to make, since each of the volunteers has a family, a mother and a father, and children.

This series of unique interviews was filmed with Red Crescent volunteers, giving an insight into their hopes, fears and motivation. 

"When I leave home in the morning to join my colleagues at the Red Crescent centre, my parents are just so afraid," said Fatma, a volunteer in the Damascus branch. "They only feel better when I am back home in the evening," she added. This is the case for many of the thousands of Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers currently on full alert whenever the situation becomes tense.

Emergency health-care services and, especially, first aid and medical evacuations provided by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are urgently needed and have saved many lives. However, the Red Crescent volunteers take considerable risks carrying out their humanitarian activities. There have been reports of medical and other health-care staff being deliberately prevented from performing their tasks of evacuating the injured and providing first aid and other medical attention for those who need it. This is not acceptable, because providing health care for the wounded and the sick, no matter who they may be, is a basic humanitarian requirement.

As violence continues, the situation in parts of Syria is a source of considerable concern to the ICRC. Our view of the situation is always closely linked to the impact it has on the population, and in this case there is no doubt that ordinary Syrians are suffering the effects of the continuing violence. The death toll is reportedly on the rise, as is the number of people injured or detained.

(Shotlist and Interview Translations attached)

Duration : 4m 45s
Size : 91.3 KB

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