More than 8000 people were injured between 18 February, and 18 March. Those were rescued by the heroes: the medics and the white helmets.
Those inspiring teams faced extreme challenges everyday. We tried with the help of the Syrian artist Yaman Battikha to illustrate some of these challenges.
Tonight Douma is under fire, and those teams may not have a one minute rest.
This album is dedicated to all the paramedics in Eastern Ghouta
The Difficult Choices:
Everyday, the medics in Eastern Ghouta are challenged to choose between their lives and the lives of the patients.Should they go with the ambulance and when they know that the shelling has not stopped and that the roads are not safe. But at the same time there are civilians and children who need evacuation.
In acute emergency situations, all paramedics choose (voluntarily) to participate and no one is forced to go. Ambulance crew of five people is reduced to two people only, because the loss of a medical paramedic in Ghouta in emergencies does not compensate
Challenging the Smoke:
The ambulance driver struggles with the smoke caused by the bombardment. He is terrified by the unknown behind the smoke which blurs his sight.
He breaks through the smoke. The medics team goes out, and he loses his ability to see them.
Sitting there, under the sounds of shelling waiting anxiously their return with the injured. Then he rushes to leave the site before the airstrike hits again.
Challenging the Space:
Medics have to go back to the location the minimum times possible, saving the maximum number of the injured, because the Russian and Syrian regimes usually hit the same location twice to target those who want to save lives.
Normally, the ambulance should accommodate one or two patients, but in Ghouta the paramedics must challenge the limited space and make a place for ten wounded people sometimes. Many times one wounded will be helping another one.
Witnessing the Loss:
Apart from the frequent loss of their colleagues, due to deliberate targeting. Medics witness on a daily basis the loss of fathers, mothers, daughters and sons. They collect the tears and absorb the grieve resisting their sense of guilt that they couldn’t save one more.
In acute situations, they may spend days without sleeping even for an hour, and sometimes they fall asleep while they are sitting from fatigue.
They sleep wearing their uniforms and ready to move quickly, one Paramedic told us “we sleep with an open eyes.”