Local non-profit helping victims of chemical attack and missile airstrike in Syria

A local non-profit organization is reacting to the chemical attacks and missile airstrike in Syria in a humanitarian way.

Circle of Health International in Austin has been working with healthcare providers in Syria since the civil war started six years ago. They said they didn't think it the situation there could ever get worse, but in the last week it has and they are hoping to get help to those in need.

Sera Bonds is the CEO and Founder, she said she usually talks to the staff weekly, but after the two deadly events she hadn’t heard from them because they were extremely busy, “They're safe and they're overwhelmed and there's a lot of work to do, a lot of emotional work with 70 to 80 percent of people who've been hurt by the chemical attack and the bombings are women and children,” she said.

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COHI partners with Human Appeal out of the UK. The last year and a half they've been supporting the Al-Iman hospital, the last hospital left in Aleppo, “It being one of the last healthcare facilities left in the country really is in its own crisis of its own,” Bonds said.

COHI said what shred of healthcare is left for the Syrian people is facing dire challenges as the war and conflict in the region become more unpredictable. In one week, more than 80 civilians were killed in a chemical attack.

Days later, the U.S. launched a missile strike in the same area.

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“They're seeing a high numbers of women and children presenting to health facilities with burns that was in relation to the chemical part. The bombings were supposed to be targeted to an airbase but there have been civilian casualties,” Bonds said.
Though the hospital doors remain open, the medical staff has had to make some difficult choices with the money coming in. “We are somehow getting it together, they haven't had to close, they have had to stop feeding people, which is heartbreaking. They have had to triage the funds.” 

And the toll it's taking on the staff is coming with a price. “They aren't okay emotionally and they probably never will be, somehow they find it in them to show up for work every day and to be there for the sick kids and the C-sections that need to happen,” Bonds said.

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Bonds said while none of us are going to be able to solve the problem, there are still ways to support those who are in need. “Our job is to raise as much money and get them the resources they need. Most of us don't sit in the place in the world where we can make change about the policy so ultimately it just comes down to the people,” she said.
They were expecting funds sometime in April from the World Health Organization, but unfortunately the money got re-allocated.

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