The security operations and clashes with gunmen in Sadr City affected the humanitarian situation in the vast suburbs east of Baghdad. Aid groups and humanitarian organizations worked continuously to attempt to get aid to the people and families that were affected, and the work of Iraqi and foreign organizations to distribute bags of flower, food and cases of drinking water to citizens did not cease.
The armed clashes threatened the medical facilities in the city, most prominently the Al-Sadr and Imam Ali Hospitals, which suffered from major shortages in terms of medical necessities during the clashes.
Saleh Al-Hasnawi, the Minister of Health, says that the Imam Ali Hospital and the Al-Sadr General Hospital, both in Sadr City, suffered from shortages of medical necessities. He added that the ministry worked to overcome these shortages and furnished the two hospitals with all the emergency necessities.
Al-Hasnawi noted that his ministry gave priority to emergency situations and injury treatment, confirming that the conditions of the emergency units at both hospitals have become acceptable now, following the delivery of this aid.
The ministry was naturally not the only one to provide medical aid to Sadr City hospitals, as a number of international groups and organizations did so as well. According to an anonymous source in the Baghdad Al-Rasafa Health Agency, these included “the International Committee of the Red Cross, which provided drinking water containers for a week, after water was cut off from Al-Sadr Hospital; The Dutch Branch of Doctors Without Borders and the French First Aid Group, which provided medical necessities and equipment for emergency treatment; International Relief & Development, which provided blankets, bottled water and wheelchairs for the Al-Sadr and Imam Ali Hospitals; UNICEF, which provided medical necessities for the Imam Ali Hospital, as did the French Red Cross and the International Medical Corps, as well as donations made by residents.”
The International Organization for Migration said that it distributed aid to hospitals and families in Baghdad, explaining in a statement that it “transported urgent food aid to be distributed to citizens in Sadr City, in addition to providing medical necessities to two main hospitals of Sadr City in Baghdad, after the curfew was lifted.”
The Iraqi Red Crescent sent aid convoys to Sadr City on more than one occasion since April 1st. In many cases it was unable to distribute the aid due to the ongoing clashes.
Said Hakki, President of the Iraqi Red Crescent, told Mawtani that “the first convoy had 23 trucks carrying medicine, medical necessities, food and other relief materials, but the ongoing clashes at the time kept it from entering.”
In an interview with Mawtani, Tahsin Al-Sheikhly, the Civilian Spokesperson for the Imposing the Law Plan, suspected “gunmen of attacking convoys that tried to bring in aid.”
“The government did its best to allow food aid to reach affected families,” Al-Sheikhly added.
There is not doubt that providing aid and giving international humanitarian organizations the opportunity to provide aid in Sadr City reflects the government’s commitment to provide relief to citizens there, as well as confirming that the targets of military operations are not civilians but rather the gunmen who have no concern for the safety of the civilians surrounding them.