Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) Emergency Activity Report

By The Palestine Monitor - October 30, 2015
Section: [Main News] [Features]
Tags: [Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS)]

The Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) has released a report of its emergency activities during the period of Oct. 1-27.


PMRS has outlined the difficulties its teams have faced when trying to reach those who have been injured “due to the lack of cooperation – or outright aggression – of Israeli forces.” PMRS has also noted that its medical teams have frequently been the direct targets of Israeli aggression.


The full statement can be found below.


Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS)

Emergency Activity Report

01 – 27 October 2015

NB: The numbers of injured and incidents listed below are not included in the figures released by the Palestinian Ministry of Health and relayed by the press, which are mainly based on the Red Crescent’s numbers. The data below will be shared with the MoH so that overall figures for the emergency can be updated.

In the period between the 1st to the 27th of October 2015, PMRS first aid teams and ambulances have provided first aid to a total of 6,474 people, in the 6 following districts: Bethlehem, Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablus, Ramallah and Gaza. Out of these beneficiaries, at least 177 received assistance for injuries caused by live ammunition, at least 1,201 had been wounded by rubber-coated steel bullets and 121 had been physically assaulted. 4,697 people were treated for excessive teargas inhalations. Additionally, PMRS referred 278 cases for further care after stabilizing them – the most serious ones which include potentially life-threatening or dangerous rubber and live bullets injuries and toxic levels of tear gas inhalation.

PMRS notes with alarm that out of the 6,474 people it provided assistance to since the beginning of the escalation, more than a third – 2,206 – were minors. Furthermore, 1,645 of all beneficiaries were women, representing about 25% of the injured encountered by the teams.

In the course of providing first aid, PMRS teams have faced constant difficulties due to the lack of cooperation – or outright aggression – of Israeli forces which repeatedly ignore medical emblems and have targeted first aiders and ambulances. The high degree of occurrence coupled with the apparent lack of any official condemnation or disciplinary action by Israeli authorities suggest that, far from being isolated incidents stemming from individual soldiers’ conduct, these repeated violations of the most basic provisions of international humanitarian law betray rather a, at best, deliberate disregard by Israeli forces at the highest levels for their obligations to facilitate access to and evacuation of the injured and to refrain from targeting medical emblems.

During the reporting period, PMRS teams were prevented by Israeli forces from accessing injured people a total of 29 times and delayed by more than 30 minutes 50 times. Moreover, 108 PMRS first aiders/paramedics were injured or verbally harassed during the performance of their duties. This includes 3 first aiders/ambulance driver who were directly targeted in Hebron on October 16 as Israeli forces shot rubber-bullets directly at their ambulance, as well as a tear gas grenade through one of the ambulance’s windows while the 3 men were inside the ambulance.


Samer Subuh, 51 years old, is an ambulance driver based in Ramallah and has been working with PMRS for 15 years. He is married and has 5 children.

“When I am in the field, I think a lot about death; I don’t know what to expect, I might get shot and die anytime. I think about my family, but in the end, I feel that this is my job and I have to do it.

The most challenging part of it is rescuing injured people who are very close to Israeli soldiers. Anytime I see young people getting close to the soldiers, I get really worried, as I know that if one of them gets injured there, retrieving them will be extremely difficult.

I am also worried about the amount of teargas that Israeli forces use and how it might be affecting me and my colleagues over time. Nobody knows exactly what that gas is made of and what kind of lasting or hidden effects it might have on one’s health.”

Jaweed Adhami, 35 years old, married with 3 children, is a paramedic and ambulance driver and has been working with PMRS in Hebron for 13 years.

“One of the most problematic situations we regularly encounter when intervening during clashes is linked to the high number of injuries and the insufficient number of paramedics and ambulances to handle them when

several need attention at the same time. It happens a lot that, coming back to the scene of the clashes after having transferred a patient to the hospital, I see people carrying the injured into taxis or private cars to get them out of there. It is always very stressful to me because, while they obviously mean well, these people have no first aid training; they do not know the basic safety rules for transporting an injured person and might end up causing them complications.

The hardest is providing first aid to people who are very close to the soldiers, as these do not care about medical emblems or medical staff. Israeli forces do not respect us as emergency care providers, they will not hold their fire and they might even shoot at us and our ambulances on purpose. This is what happened to 2 volunteer first aiders and me on October 16, 2015, as we were intervening in Ras al Jorah (Hebron). As we were sitting in the ambulance, ready to take care of any injured person brought to us by our colleagues in the field, soldiers shot a teargas grenade right through the passenger’s window, shattering it. As we were struggling to catch our breath, they shot 4 rubber- coated steel bullets at the car. 3 of them hit the back doors of the ambulance, while the fourth one cracked the windshield.”


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