WHO: 1 Million People Wounded in Syrian War

Lack of medical care is causing infectious disease crisis as Syria continues on road to ruin, WHO representative reveals.

Tova Dvorin ,

Syrian man carries wounded boy (file)
Syrian man carries wounded boy (file)

At least one million people have been wounded and 200,000 killed in Syria since its years-long Civil War began in March 2011, Syria's World Health Organization (WHO) representative stated to Reuters Friday. 

"In Syria, they have a million people injured as a direct result of the war. You can see it in the country when you travel around. You see a lot of amputees," Elizabeth Hoff, WHO's Syria representative, stated to the agency. "This is the biggest problem."

As a result, infectious diseases are metastasizing, Hoff added - and the lack of available medical care in Syria, where half of the country's hospitals are closed, is making the problem worse.

Hoff said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, meanwhile, is also preventing aid convoys with medical supplies from crossing into some of the hardest-hit areas in the war-torn country, as Damascus must sign off on every aid truck carrying supplies. 

Vaccinations are key to preventing diseases from spreading, and thousands of children have now been infected with preventable maladies such as typhoid, measles, and even polio. 

6,500 Syrian children were diagnosed with typhoid in 2014, Hoff said; 4,200 suffered from measles. But a polio outbreak, which is virtually extinct in the West but made a comeback in the Middle East last year, was stopped in its tracks after only one diagnosis after a fast-acting vaccination campaign was launched earlier this year. 

Syrian aid workers in Damascus said that tuberculosis was also spreading in the capital, due to poor sanitary conditions and a government siege, reports Reuters.

WHO delivered more than 13.5 million treatments of lifesaving medicines and medical supplies in 2014, Hoff said - three times the amount distributed in 2013.

But she emphasized that it has not been enough to stop the infectious disease crisis, which stems from both the lack of medical care and the general breakdown of urban infrastructure and basic sanitary conditions.