25 Jan 2014

New report from Handicap International on explosive weapons in Syria

HI released yesterday the attached fact sheet that aims to provide a snapshot of the types of injuries caused by explosive weapons and witnessed by our teams while working with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Syria. To draw this fact sheet, HI has been conducting direct interviews during initial assessment work among 1.847 Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) between November 2012 and October 2013 in IDP camps, hospitals and communities inside Syria. Almost 50% (49,5%) of the interviewees had new injuries directly related to the crisis.
 
This paper provides information on the short- and long-term consequences faced by victims of explosive weapons especially when no proper, immediate or sustainable care is provided. It calls on parties to the conflict as well as to the international community to follow recommendations to ensure international humanitarian law is respected, especially regarding the use of explosive weapons in populated areas; to ensure unhindered humanitarian access is granted in order to address the urgent needs of the most vulnerable persons and to request the international community to take adequate measures to provide victims with immediate health services.
 
While the situation is continuing to worsen each day in Syria, it is particularly disturbing to note that 60% of the victims interviewed by HI and who had new injuries related to the crisis, had been injured by explosive weapons, while 31% had been injured by gunshot. The persons harmed by explosive weapons are suffering from severe physical injuries: 60% had fractures or complex fractures, 25% had undergone an amputation, 21% were suffering from peripheral nerve injury, and 7% had irreversible spinal cord injuries. Children accounts for almost 20% of the crisis related victims interviewed by HI.

HI hopes that this paper will be useful for future work on the crisis response and that the recommendations will be fully taken into account to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are met and that, in the near future, the number of new victims will be significantly reduced.

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