AFGHANISTAN: Rockets Hit Sangin Market, At Least 23 Dead

30 patients arrived at the EMERGENCY First Aid Post in Sangin

At least 23 civilians died this morning after rockets hit a crowded market in the Sangin district in the southern province of Helmand, where hundreds of farmers had gathered to trade livestock.

We have received thirty patients at our Sangin First Aid Post so far, seven of whom were unfortunately already dead on arrival. Helmand province has been one of the most dangerous in the country for several years. Six other civilians died after their car hit a landmine this morning,” said Marco Puntin, Programme Coordinator for EMERGENCY, which manages seven First Aid Posts and a Surgical Centre for War Victims in Helmand province.

At EMERGENCY’s facility in Sangin, local nurses offered first aid and stabilised the injured patients, with all of them subsequently being transferred to the Surgical Centre for War Victims in Lashkar-Gah. Three sadly died on the way. Access to medical treatment in this region is scarce: there are no other free healthcare facilities and the terrain makes travel difficult.

The explosion damaged our First Aid Post, which was approximately 200 metres away. A window was shattered and shrapnel stuck into the walls. Fortunately, all the staff are fine,” continues Puntin.

The bombing in Sangin comes after weeks of renewed violence while the country waits for peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government to begin.

“Regardless of who carried out today’s attack, there should be no higher priority for all factions than to ensure that healthcare facilities and workers can operate fully, without any interference, especially when the entire Afghan population is also at risk of COVID-19,” concluded Puntin.

EMERGENCY reopened the Sangin First Aid Post in October 2018 after having been forced to close it due to violent clashes in the area. In the first four months of 2020, First Aid Posts in the Lashkar-Gah area have already treated 10,229 people, while the Surgical Centre for War Victims has hospitalised 621 patients.

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