Fallujah (I): Visit to
of CEOSI meets with the Director and delivers a first pack of health
Delegation in Iraq, 25th April, 2005
5th May, 2005
Translated into English by Lola Oliván (CEOSI)
last November when a journalist of the British BBC visited the
Hospital, no other media has showed interest for the situation in
the medical centre or has been able to come inside"
Last Sunday, 24th April,
while visiting Fallujah , the CEOSI Delegation in Iraq
(17th-26th April) delivered directly to the General Hospital of
Fallujah a first part of the medical supplies (medicines,
wheelchairs, fonends, and other medical supplies) amounting 3.817,61
dollars. These supplies had been applied by the direction of the
Hospital according to the necessities. Such delivery was bought with
the founds collected in the first phase of the Campaign of Health
Assistance to the people of Fallujah, which was closed last 9th
April after collecting a total amount of 15.000 euros .
The authorities of the
Hospital gave to the Delegation a new list of urgent (between then
the supplies for an operating room) that will be bought with the
rest amount and what will be collected in the second phase now open.
In this second phase of the
Campaign and after the meeting celebrated by the Delegation with the
Relieve Popular Committees in the city, it has been accorded that
the fungible medical material and the medicines that will be
collected in Hospitals and health centres in Spain will be destined
to the clinics that provide the first medical assistance to the
injured and ills when they can not be immediately transferred to the
General Hospital or to the public health centres due to security
matters or curfews.
Interview with the Director of Fallujah General Hospital
CEOSI Delegation was
received around 12
o'clock by the Director of the Hospital, Dr. Abdul Wahad al-Alossy,
who described to the group the US assault against the medical centre
at the beginning of the occupation of the city last November, 2004.
he also explained the situation of the Hospital, thanked the
delivery of material and called for all the assistance that can be
sent from Spain to continue.
The General Hospital of
Fallujah is situated in the opposite bank of Eufrates River to the
city. The iron bridge that communicates the Hospital with Fallujah
has been reopen just two weeks ago by the US but the occupiers do
not allow yet the traffic by car over it. The Hospital must attend
the 350.000 inhabitants of Fallujah and 300.000 more from the
Over the entry door to the
Hospital -just one floor and several wings- it can be appreciated
the draw of al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem with the Iraqi and Palestine
flags and under them the phrase: "Long life Palestine, long live
Iraq". On the left of the bridge, in front of the Hospital, one can
see the ruins of the city Youth Centre, a big building of two floors
reduced to rubble by the US bombings.
Dr. al-Alossy narrated to
the Delegation how the US forces started the assault to Fallujah
taking military the Hospital before they penetrated into the city
, "[...] and when I use the term military I refer to
the fact that the soldiers assaulted the Hospital destroying doors
and windows with violence. After that, they pointing the guns to the
medical personal and they kept us with our hands tied up during the
whole night in a hall. The US soldiers stole the belongings to the
personal in the Hospital as well as medical supplies.  They also
destroyed some points of the medical installations".
The marine impeded the exit and entry to the Hospital during
the days in which Fallujah was being reoccupied. The US soldiers
opened fire against ambulances (in one of those attacks the former
Director, Dr. Rafa'a would be wounded) and the convoys of health
assistance coming from the capital were kept by the occupiers, as
the pharmacist Intisar (from al-Yarmuk Hospital accompanying the
The rehabilitation of the
destroyed halls in the Hospital took three months. It has still some
deficiencies in medicines and equipments. This is confirmed by the
death of a young asthmatic of 22 due to shortage in oxygen while the
Delegation was visiting the Hospital. The situation of siege that
Fallujah suffers and the very restricted access to the city makes
also difficult the relationship with the health authorities in
Ramadi (the provincial capital, now also witnessing heavy combats)
Dr. al-Allosy confirmed as
well as that three of the five health Centers in the city were
totally destroyed during the capture of the city; also the Jordanian
campaign Hospital and the beneficial center of Nasah neighborhood.
Other centers of first attention, as the one of al-Yumhuriya, are
partially destroyed in between 60%-70%. The official forecast for
the rehabilitation of the city infrastructure will be delay at least
in two or three years.
unknown amount of deaths
The fact that the Hospital
was occupied and isolated from the city during the assault to
Fallujah does not
allow Dr. al-Alossy to determine, as it has been said, whether non
conventional weapons were used or not against Fallujah, to be more
specific, napalm and phosphorus, an issue on which the Delegation
"We did not receive injured
people. There was no evacuation neither attention to the injured
while the combats; the most grave were dying,  There were corpses
in the streets during a month and a half after the reoccupation [of
That's why there is neither
an estimation of deaths during the assault which maximum amount
could be of 3.000 -80% of the combatants, as it was later confirmed
by a member of the Human Rights and Democracy Studies Center to the
Delegation. "The Americans sent us a CD with pictures of 400 corpses
with an assigned number
each one. Only about 20 were able to be identified", confirms the
Director. The pictures show in the majority of the cases carbonized
or deformed bodies . "The Americans buried an undetermined
number of corpses in a common grave in Sahlawi neighbourhood; some
others were [initially] stored in a potatoes store's chamber
becoming a morgue", Dr. al-Allosy points out. "Many other deaths
were buried by their families in the gardens of their own houses".
Finally, a deal between the
judiciary authorities and the Muslim Experts Association allowed to
extend death certificates but without assigning cause of the dead,
Dr. al-Alossy adds.
and epidemics prevision
The General Hospital
receives currently the visits of the US troops on regular bases
although they are not
so aggressive as during the assault last November. The Hospital does
not register -as his Director affirms discretely- injured combatants
despite of the fact that the clashes with the marine
patrolling the city take place on a daily basis. What the Hospital
register are the civilians wounded by the shooting of the US
soldiers in the check pints or during the curfew. Also frequent are
the admission of civilians injured by the detonation of no-exploded
bombs, as it is the case of two minor brothers in the Centre when
CEOSI Delegation visits the Hospital.
The existing curfew in the
city from 9.00 p.m. (until few weeks ago from 5.00 pm) to day-break,
makes difficult the health assistance for a population that can not
move from one place to the General Hospital or to the public centres
yet available, or to the popular health committees that have been
established by the citizens with private or foreign contributions.
In case of childbirths or urgencies, the director states, the
relatives have to call by phone to the Hospital so an ambulance
necessarily escorted by a US military vehicle can go to the house
and visit or taking the patient. The problem, according to Dr.
Al_ayossy, is that at least 60% of the telephone lines in the city
are not operative.
Particularly grave is the
health situation of the
refugees that are returning to the city to live literally over the
ruins of their destroyed houses in tends given by United Nations.
is particularly afraid of the
expansion of infectious diseases in summer as consequence of the
lack of potable water and the destruction of the depuration system
of sewage. Big plastic water tanks in grey or red not well tested in
salubriousness providing water for the population can be seen in
many places of the devastated city.
Since last November when a
journalist of the British BBC visited the Hospital, no other media
has showed interest for the situation in the medical centre or has
been able to come inside.
chronic of the Delegation's enter to Fallujah will be publisher next
10th May in IraqSolidaridad.
2. See in IraqSolidaridad:
Cierre de la primera fase de la campaña de ayuda sanitaria a la
población de Faluya: 15.000 euros recaudados se destinarán al
Hospital Central, devastado en noviembre
3. See in IraqSolidaridad the Report of CEDHD on Fallujah:
Las organizaciones de Faluya remiten sendos informes sobre la
violación de derechos humanos durante el asalto y ocupación de
Faluya y la situación de los refugiados de esta ciudad
4. CEOSI has a copy of this CD as well as of the lists related to
the pictures of the corpses and provided by the US occupation