The Mashadani Hospital in Raqqa becomes the first hospital in the city to return to service following the defeat of ISIS militants.
The sheer level of destruction experienced by Raqqa City over the course of the battles to defeat the ISIS militants would be daunting for anyone. It is estimated that as many as 09% of the city suffered series damage over the course of the fighting in 2017, with the city centre suffering the most damage. Indeed, after the battle, many wondered if the city could ever be rebuilt fully.
While these challenges are still present, the people of Raqqa are working through what they can to slowly rebuild their city and bring it to workable conditions. Over the past months, teams have opened up local roads, allowing easier reach across the city. The resumption of public transport services has further eased the lives of many locals. Now, the reopening of the Mashadani Hospital promises to take another pressure off the back of local residents.
Located just off the infamous Na’im Roundabout in the Raqqa City Centre, the Mashadani Hospital was among the final holdouts of ISIS militants in the city. Although the hospital did not suffer as much damage as the nearby National Hospital where the militants made their last stand, it was nevertheless damaged heavily as a result of shelling across the city centre. Once the battle was over, it, alongside every other hospital in Raqqa, was out of service.
In the absence of any hospitals, many of the residents were forced to travel to the nearby cities of Tabqa, Slouk or Ayn Issa. Some of the more serious conditions even required trips to cities such as Tal Abyad or Kobani along the Turkish border.
The reopening of the Mashadani Hospital means that many Raqqans can now get treated locally, saving them the stresses and costs of travelling across the province, as well as easing the stresses on the hospitals in these cities. The Mashadani Hospital has already performed 70 surgeries since it reopened.
There is still work to be done, however. A number of surgical suites still remain out of service due to the damage. Meanwhile, the hospital also lacks specialist tools and there is a shortage of surgical equipment. As a result, more specialised cases still need to travel to Tal Abyad and Kobani. However, staff at the hospital have been working to ensure that such trips are as rare as possible. They hope that further rebuilding of the hospital and the supplying of specialist equipment will help improve the hospital’s capacity further.
Issues such as the lack of specialist equipment is something that is experienced across all of the Raqqa Province and not just here in the city. The main hospital of Tabqa City is known to have suffered similar issues. As reconstruction across the region picks up, the hope is that such supply problems can be alleviated further.