Two men assist a woman through the rubble of collapsed buildings

After earthquakes, 60% of patients without mobility devices

Sami* manages a hospital rehabilitation team in the Idlib region of Syria. He describes serious injuries and a lack of mobility equipment after the Feb. 6 earthquakes.

I am the manager of the Physical Therapy Department in a hospital located in the Idlib region, where I oversee a team of 14 staff members. Our hospital is severely overcrowded, with patients lying outside in the cold due to a shortage of beds.

Many patients come from far distances, traveling as far as 40 miles to seek treatment for serious conditions such as head trauma, spinal cord injuries, multiple fractures, and amputations because they have been trapped in the rubble for long hours.

We are already running low on mobility equipment. There is a great risk of permanent disability for our patients without proper mobility equipment such as wheelchairs, canes, crutches, walkers.

Unfortunately, an estimated 60% of our patients since Monday have not had access to these essential devices due to shortages.

Our staff is deeply frustrated as we are unable to provide adequate help to our patients without these resources. Although we have a workshop for artificial limbs, it is located an hour away, and some devices are not available in our region at all.

Without mobility equipment, patients are forced to rely on others to carry them from place to place. Some will be confined to their homes without the ability to move around.

The situation is dire, with people still trapped under rubble, houses destroyed, and families forced to sleep in buses or cars. People grieve their losses; there are burial ceremonies everywhere; in one city nearby authorities had to bury all the corpses together in one mass grave. It is so sad.

*Name has been changed

Photo: Emergency search and rescue crews search through the rubble of destroyed buildings in Hatay, Antakya, Turkey, caused by the recent earthquakes.

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