Fall of Aleppo increases need for medical supplies, Vancouver man says

“We said ‘never again’ after the Second World War in Germany and the Holocaust. We said it again in Rwanda and Srebrenica. Now, we are seeing it again in Aleppo. And this is the 21st Century.”

Riam El-Safadi collects medical supplies like crutches and wheelchairs and sends them to Syria

Syrians leave a rebel-held area of Aleppo towards the government-held side on December 13, 2016 during an operation by Syrian government forces to retake the embattled city. (Karam al-Masri/AFP/Getty Images)

A volunteer who sends medical supplies to Syria says those supplies will be needed more than ever as Aleppo falls.

Riam El-Safadi, a medical aid volunteer with Not Just Tourists, collects medical supplies like crutches and wheelchairs and sends them to the war-torn nation.

"I just got off the internet with medical staff in Aleppo this morning … they had been shelled by Grad missiles, surface missiles that injured three medical workers," he told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

"Any bomb, any shelling, anything that can happen is a massacre, because it's so dense an area  — 100,000 people in four square kilometres — and they are stranded.

"The people in Aleppo, they have told me … have seen everything except the nuclear bomb."

El-Safadi says aid workers and volunteers are waiting for civilians to escape the city and head for the western suburbs, where medical help can hopefully reach them.

Riam El-Safadi, medical aid volunteer with Not Just Tourists, collects medical supplies like crutches and wheelchairs and sends them to Syria. (CBC)

One of the next problems to deal with, he says, is the destruction of 40 hospitals in the Aleppo area.

"We're hoping to help them by sending aid and medical supplies from Vancouver and B.C.," he said, adding he hopes to send some of those supplies in coming days and weeks.

Unfortunately, El-Safadi does not see the Syrian Civil War ending soon or without more bloodshed.

"We said 'never again' after the Second World War in Germany and the Holocaust. We said it again in Rwanda and Srebrenica. Now we are seeing it again in Aleppo. And this is the 21st Century."

El-Safadi says he can be contacted at vancouveraid@gmail.com by people who wish to donate medical supplies.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast


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