Thursday 29 September 2016

MSF demands 'explanations' from US led coalition following air strikes which killed 19 people in charity's hospital

Published 03/10/2015 | 17:31

Afghan (MSF) surgeons work inside a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan in this October 3, 2015 MSF handout photo. The U.S. military on Saturday acknowledged it may have bombed a hospital run by medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres in the Afghan city of Kunduz in an air strike that killed at least nine people and wounded 37. MANDATORY CREDIT REUTERS/Medecins Sans Frontieres/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO SALES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Afghan (MSF) surgeons work inside a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan in this October 3, 2015 MSF handout photo. The U.S. military on Saturday acknowledged it may have bombed a hospital run by medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres in the Afghan city of Kunduz in an air strike that killed at least nine people and wounded 37. MANDATORY CREDIT REUTERS/Medecins Sans Frontieres/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO SALES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has demanded a full and transpared account from the US lead coalition regarding last night's air strike on the charity's hospital which has 19 people dead, 12 of whom were MSF staff.

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The other seven people were being treated in the hospital's Intensive Care Unit, three of whom were children.

Afghan guards stand at the gate of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan October 3, 2015. A U.S air strike may have hit a hospital run by MSF, a NATO forces spokesman said, after the medical aid group blamed an aerial attack for the destruction in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz that killed three staff. REUTERS/Stringer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Afghan guards stand at the gate of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan October 3, 2015. A U.S air strike may have hit a hospital run by MSF, a NATO forces spokesman said, after the medical aid group blamed an aerial attack for the destruction in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz that killed three staff. REUTERS/Stringer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

In a statement issued earlier this evening, the MSF once again condemned "in the strongest possible terms" the aerial boming of its hospital in Kunduz, Aghanistan. 

"This attack constitutes a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law," the statement read.

Read more here: Charity Medecins Sans Frontieres says they phoned NATO and US officials as bombs hit Afghan hospital killing 19 people  

"All indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces. MSF demands a full and transparent account from the Coalition regarding its aerial bombing activities over Kunduz on Saturday morning. MSF also calls for an independent investigation of the attack to ensure maximum transparency and accountability," the charity said.

The Doctors Without Borders hospital is seen in flames, after an explosion in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 . Nine local staffers for Doctors Without Borders were killed and 30 were missing after the explosion that may have been caused by a U.S. airstrike. In a statement, the international charity said the
The Doctors Without Borders hospital is seen in flames, after an explosion in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 . Nine local staffers for Doctors Without Borders were killed and 30 were missing after the explosion that may have been caused by a U.S. airstrike. In a statement, the international charity said the "sustained bombing" took place at 2:10 a.m. (2140 GMT). Afghan forces backed by U.S. airstrikes have been fighting to dislodge Taliban insurgents who overran Kunduz on Monday. (M?decins Sans Fronti?res via AP)
Fire is seen inside a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital building after an air strike in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan in this October 3, 2015 MSF handout photo. The U.S. military on Saturday acknowledged it may have bombed a hospital run by medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres in the Afghan city of Kunduz in an air strike that killed at least nine people and wounded 37. MANDATORY CREDIT REUTERS/Medecins Sans Frontieres/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO SALES.

“This attack is abhorrent and a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law,” said Meinie Nicolai, MSF President. “We demand total transparency from Coalition forces. We cannot accept that this horrific loss of life will simply be dismissed as ‘collateral damage’.”

From 2.08am to 3.15am at local time today, the trauma hospital in Kunduz was hit by a series of aerial bombing raids at approximately 15 minute intervals, according to the MSF.

The main central hospital building, housing the intensive care unit, emergency rooms, and physiotherapy ward, was repeatedly hit very precisely during each aerial raid, while surrounding buildings were left mostly untouched, the charity claimed.

“The bombs hit and then we heard the plane circle round,” said Heman Nagarathnam, MSF Head of Programmes in northern Afghanistan. “There was a pause, and then more bombs hit. This happened again and again. When I made it out from the office, the main hospital building was engulfed in flames. Those people that could had moved quickly to the building’s two bunkers to seek safety. But patients who were unable to escape burned to death as they lay in their beds.”

Afghan staff react inside a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan in this October 3, 2015 MSF handout photo. The U.S. military on Saturday acknowledged it may have bombed a hospital run by medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres in the Afghan city of Kunduz in an air strike that killed at least nine people and wounded 37. MANDATORY CREDIT REUTERS/Medecins Sans Frontieres/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO SALES.
Afghan staff react inside a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan in this October 3, 2015 MSF handout photo. The U.S. military on Saturday acknowledged it may have bombed a hospital run by medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres in the Afghan city of Kunduz in an air strike that killed at least nine people and wounded 37. MANDATORY CREDIT REUTERS/Medecins Sans Frontieres/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO SALES.
The burnt Doctors Without Borders hospital is seen after an explosion in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Nine local staffers for Doctors Without Borders were killed and 30 were missing after an explosion that may have been caused by a U.S. airstrike. In a statement, the international charity said the "sustained bombing" took place at 2:10 a.m. (2140 GMT). Afghan forces backed by U.S. airstrikes have been fighting to dislodge Taliban insurgents who overran Kunduz on Monday. (M?decins Sans Fronti?res via AP)

The charity said it has provided the GPS coordinates of the trauma hospital to Coalition and Afghan military and civilian offices as recently as Tuesday, September 29, to avoid the hospital being hit. 

"As is routine practice for MSF in conflict areas, MSF had communicated the exact location of the hospital to all parties to the conflict," the charity said.

In the aftermath of the attack, the MSF team desperately tried to save the lives of wounded colleagues and patients, setting up a makeshift operating theatre in an undamaged room. Some of the most critically injured patients were transferred to a hospital in Puli Khumri, a two hour drive away.

“Besides resulting in the deaths of our colleagues and patients, this attack has cut off access to urgent trauma care for the population in Kunduz at a time when its services are most needed,” said Nicolai. “Once again, we call on all warring parties to respect civilians, health facilities, and medical staff, according to International Humanitarian Law.”

An injured civilian is seen lying on the hood of a military vehicle as Afghan security forces prepare to transport him to safety after a battle with the Taliban in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan October 3, 2015. Fighting has raged around the Afghan provincial capital, recaptured by government forces this week from Taliban militants who had seized it in the biggest victory of their nearly 14-year insurgency. REUTERS/Stringer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An injured civilian is seen lying on the hood of a military vehicle as Afghan security forces prepare to transport him to safety after a battle with the Taliban in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan October 3, 2015. Fighting has raged around the Afghan provincial capital, recaptured by government forces this week from Taliban militants who had seized it in the biggest victory of their nearly 14-year insurgency. REUTERS/Stringer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Afghan security forces take a wounded civilian man to the hospital after Taliban fighter's attack, in Kunduz city, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Three staff from Doctors Without Borders were killed and 30 were missing after an explosion near their hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz that may have been caused by a U.S. airstrike. (AP Photo/Dehsabzi)

Since fighting broke out on Monday, MSF had treated 394 wounded. At the time of the aerial attack there were 105 patients and their caretakers in the hospital, alongside more than 80 international and national MSF staff. MSF expresses its sincere condolences to the families and friends of its staff members and patients who have tragically lost their lives in this attack.

MSF’s hospital is the only facility of its kind in the north-eastern region of Afghanistan. For four years it has been providing free high level life- and limb-saving trauma care. In 2014, more than 22,000 patients received care at the hospital and more than 5900 surgeries were performed. MSF treats all people according to their medical needs and does not make any distinctions based on a patient’s ethnicity, religious beliefs or political affiliation.

The burnt Doctors Without Borders hospital is seen after an explosion in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Nine local staffers for Doctors Without Borders were killed and 30 were missing after an explosion that may have been caused by a U.S. airstrike. In a statement, the international charity said the
The burnt Doctors Without Borders hospital is seen after an explosion in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Nine local staffers for Doctors Without Borders were killed and 30 were missing after an explosion that may have been caused by a U.S. airstrike. In a statement, the international charity said the "sustained bombing" took place at 2:10 a.m. (2140 GMT). Afghan forces backed by U.S. airstrikes have been fighting to dislodge Taliban insurgents who overran Kunduz on Monday. (M?decins Sans Fronti?res via AP)

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