They have tried several times previously to bomb the building during the period of renovation and conversion into an emergency hospital which commenced in December 2012. The "relative" safety of being located between two mountains and Almighty's Grace, ensured that the munitions always struck the mountain or fell to the left or to the right into the river.
While our team was in Darkoush, Syria, mortars and shells landed all around the city, in fact four rockets in rapid succession struck the mountain directly above the hospital around 11pm one night, the pungent odour of the explosion was unmistakeable right at the front door of the hospital. President Assad's army has intensified the bombing in an around the city since the departure of the medical and media teams and in several areas around Syria, with civilian casualties mounting and now averaging 200-300 per day.
The bombing in the Darkoush region has been fairly intense with shells landing not far from the home of the director of the hospital, Dr Ahmed Ghandour, in recent days and on May 6, 2013 a shell fell in the street about 100m from the hospital, shrapnel from which struck the casualty section of the Gift of the Givers South African Hospital and again by the Grace of the Almighty, only one window pane broke. There were two minor casualties in the street but no one was harmed in the hospital.
The resilience of the medical staff, the management and the patients was incredible in spite of the heightened danger and risk. Many of them, including family members spoke to us immediately after the bombing thanking the hospital, the medical team, the supplies, our intervention, mentioning team members by name and reporting in detail progress of their children or loved ones. They were at pains to emphasise that the hospital was safe and that we must please not abandon the hospital project, as this is their only means of hope and survival. We gave the reassurance of our commitment to the project, the planned expansion of the building, introduction of additional highly specialised medical equipment and employment of 12 more qualified medical specialists. We emphasised that neither the hospital nor the equipment were more important than the vanguard of that society, the Syrian medical team and those Syrians suffering at the hands of a despotic regime.
Our prayers, fund raising campaign, supply of food, medicines, baby milk, blankets and total support for the hospital continues with increased determination. Thank you to all South Africans who have welcomed our teams in the various towns and cities, on the Syrian Road Show, raising funds for a beleaguered nation. Thank you for purchasing R100 coupons each towards the Syrian Humanitarian Mission.
A special thank you to all the schools, corporations, women groups, sports and religious societies, that have taken large quantities of books to sell coupons, making it a truly inclusive South African effort.
For details contact Allauddin on 083 6677 179 or Zohra on 031 208 2312.