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Life Underground: Syrians Seek Surviv...
Hama
By TTM Contributor 9
11 Mar 2015

Hama, Syria
March 11, 2015

Rebels and civilians in the Latamina area of northern Syria have taken to digging mountain shelters in order to protect themselves from government forces. A rebel battalion called Tajmmu al-Izza (Pride Gathering), aligned to the Free Syrian Army and operative in rural parts of Idlib and Hama provinces, is doing the bulk of the digging.

The ensuing network of artificial caves provides a base for combatants, as well as a shelter for the dwindling numbers of civilians who have not fled the area. These caves also house a field hospital and pharmacy with 30 meter walls and continue to serve civilians and fighters alike. On the other hand, any makeshift medical centers built above ground were routinely bombed by Assad forces, according to an interviewed rebel spokesman.

This video shows detailed scenes of workers digging one of these makeshift caves with only simple tools, a task that usually takes about 12-15 days to be completed. Footage also includes interviews with the spokesman and the head of Tajmmu al-Izza.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Wide of rebel vehicles outside cave
Wide of entry point to caves guarded by rebels

Wide of workers digging
Wide of worker taking debris out using wheel barrow
Various of workers drilling rocks
Various of workers taking debris out using wheel barrow
Various of workers building protection wall to shield cave entrance from bomb shrapnel

Wide of makeshift pharmacy
Wide of nurse working in pharmacy
Wide of entrance and emergency room in makeshift medical center
Various of nurse handling medication
Various of medical workers setting up operation room
Close-up of nurse preparing injection

Various of medical worker setting up operation room
Interview with Ubada al-Hamwi, rebel spokesperson
Various/ cutaways of Ubada al-Hamwi
Various of makeshift medical center and other caves
Various of rebel fighters inside caves

Medium of batteries used to provide lighting
Various of rebels in an office inside a cave Various/ Cutaways of Major Jamil al-Saleh, head of Tajmmu al-Izza Rebel Group
Interview with Major Jamil al-Saleh, head of Tajmmu al-Izza Rebel Group
Various/ Cutaways of Major Jamil al-Saleh, head of Tajmmu al-Izza Rebel Group

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Ubada al-Hamwi, rebel spokesperson
05:26 – 07:22

“The hospital was built underground in a rocky cliff. The rocks above it are about 30 meters high. This was done because of the bombing carried out by the regime, using explosive barrels and rockets. There was a need for an underground hospital to be built in order to protect medical staff, as well civilians and [fighters] who are being treated from injuries. The hospital has been established about 11 months ago. Most of the cases involve civilians injured in bombings. They could be injured by bomb shrapnel or suffer amputation. [The hospital provides] first aid to civilians. Fighters are usually treated from gunshots; undergo chest catheterization; and have shrapnel removed from their bodies as a result of mortar bombing. They also undergo surgery, which includes cutting the abdomen.
We needed a building that could protect doctors and medical workers, as well as the injured receiving treatment. An injured person feels more comfortable in a safe location.
Before we came up with this idea, we had an ordinary building that was repeatedly hit. We came up with this idea to provide the injured with safe and healthy conditions.
Digging was carried out using simple tools, such as drill compressors. The human effort involved was very large.”

07:02 – 07:22
“I am 23 years old. I studied Physics – I was in my second year at Tishreen University in Lattakia. I left university and joined the revolution since the outbreak of the early demonstrations.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Major Jamil al-Saleh, head of Tajmmu al-Izza Rebel Group

08:58 - 13:01
"We resorted to building underground shelters and caves to protect ourselves from the barbaric air and artillery bombing carried out by the regime. We went to the mountains because the altitudes above the caves are quite high. Caves have at least 20 or 30 meters of altitude above them. This provides more protection for our men and equipment. Hence, we have become able to last longer under air and artillery bombing carried out by the regime, thanks be to God. This gives us more strength, thanks to the thickness of the walls, which we can achieve by digging into hills.
The digging process… we are able to provide health services as well as electricity and water, but we face difficulty in providing these services. The means that we, rebels, have are limited. We do not have digging machinery. We are using simple tools. We do not have good means to provide fortification. We rely on manual labor. Our men are making a big effort.
We are accelerating our work, theerfore it takes about 12-15 days to finish a cave. By the end of this time caves would be ready for our men to use them. About 12-15 days, depending on the area of the cave.
Aircraft bomb field hospitals the moment they are discovered, whether these hospitals are used by fighters or locals civilians. This is done to exert pressure on the rebels' popular support base. We had to build hospitals in protected areas the same way we built headquarters.

"Thanks be to God, medical staff are able to carry out their work under bombing because of these hospitals. They serve the civilians – this is something that we care much about. We are also protecting medical staff because we need them in the current war circumstances.
The number of caves is very large. Civilians as well as rebels have resorted to caves. Caves are everywhere because they protect us. It is difficult to remain in the northern part of Hama province without these caves.
We, as fighters, are able to follow up on our work thanks to God and these caves.
Civilians have to stay inside these caves to be able to live. They are not happy with this, but many people have no other alternative. They cannot leave the area. You saw the weather conditions that we experienced this year. There was a lot of rainfall and it was very cold. People suffered a lot.

Power is provided by generators and water is extracted from wells. The regime has stopped providing services, such as diesel and electricity. It is not only rebels; civilians suffer from this as well. There is no flour or bread. All of this is provided by aid organizations from Turkey because the regime has stopped offering these services two years ago.”

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Dreadful Disease Appears in Eastern G...
Ghouta
By Mohamad al-jazaare
24 Dec 2014

Hamourieh, Eastern Ghouta, Syria

Harsh humanitarian conditions in besieged Eastern Ghouta near Damascus have caused a rare, grisly disease surface. Young Hiba is being treated from myiasis, a skin infestation caused fly maggots.

Staff at the local Dar al-Rahma Medical Center (DRMC) are doing their best to offer Hiba and other patients proper care, despite the severe shortage of medical supplies in Eastern Ghouta.

The center is also treating many patients from cancer. Tasneem is a five-year-old girl who is diagnosed with leukemia. DRMC’s director Dr. Wissam says that she and her colleagues face a large difficulty in providing cancer medications that will not expire soon.

Shot List

1 Various of Dr. Wissam picking worms out of Hiba (young girl)’s scalp.

Natural Sound (Arabic, Woman and man) conversation between Dr. Wissam, Director of Dar al-Rahma Medical Center and Hiba’s father

Dr. Wissam: “These are pouches. If we do not clean them they might be hiding something bigger. I do not like this area. They should not have remained.”

Father: “Her mother is giving her a shower every day.”

Dr. Wissam: “There is a lack of education and awareness (…). These remaining pouches will not help me. I wanted to see her in two days but I do not want to see anything like this.”

2 SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Dr. Wissam, Director of Dar al-Rahma Medical Center

(01:12) “Hiba’s case is the first case of miyasis that we diagnosed in Eastern Ghouta. Her scalp is infected. Such diseases are due to the lack of pesticides, which causes the appearance of large houseflies. In addition to that, these diseases are caused by the lack of water in the area.” (01:29)

(01:29) “At the moment, the girl’s condition has improved, and she is healing and under medical observation. We hope not to discover new cases.” (01:35)

3 Wide of Dr. Wissam, Hiba and Hiba’s father at the medical center.

Natural Sound

Dr. Wissam: “This is why she was in pain and could not sleep. After they [the worms] were taken out, she felt better. She has not been complaining of any pain.”

Father: “Not at all.”

Dr. Wissam: “We will only observe her. If anything appears, we will see it immediately. I do not want to cut her [scalp].”

4 SOUNDBITE (Man, Arabic) Ahmad, Hiba’s Father and an unidentified woman

(02:26) “It all started a week ago, and we thought it was an allergy. I took her to the medical dispensary where they prescribed her a medication and ointments. I then took her to another dispensary in Harasta where they told me it was probably impetigo [a skin disease] and they prescribed her an ointment. But my daughter was in a lot of pain, and I thought it does not look like a normal allergy. So I brought her here after her situation got worse and she was in pain at night. We feared that she might had a malignant disease. When we discovered that she had worms in her head, we directly thought that this was not normal. We brought her here.” (03:16)

5 Close up of Dr. Wissam taking worms out of Hiba’s scalp.

Natural Sound (Arabic) Conversation among

Dr. Wissam: “Do we have tweezers? [UNINTELLIGIBLE] Do you know blue flies? These are blue flies’ eggs.”

Father: “What about this?”

Dr. Wissam: “You have to shave her head, brother. Alright?”

Father: “Yes”

Dr. Wissam: “Because they are hiding in the hair. If there is anything that has not come out…”

Unseen woman: “How could they say it is normal and the girl was not hit by a bullet or did cut her head?”

Father: “They diagnosed it as impetigo.”

Unseen woman: “When did this start, doctor?

Doctor Wissam: “Three days ago.”

Father: “Three days ago, she started having a headache.”

Unseen woman:”How did this decay happen?”

Dr. Wissam: “It started before.”

Father: “Her face and neck were swollen.”

Unseen woman: “How did the fly lay its eggs here?”

Dr. Wissam: “Only God knows. One, two, three, four, five, six – six worms from a single spot. I once received a patient whose eye was eaten [by worms].”

6 Various of street. Natural Sound: (Arabic) Call for prayer.

7 Various of Tasneem, young girl in hospital bed

8 Various of Doctor Wissam injecting needle in Tasneem. Natural Sound: “Give me your hand.”

9 Close up of serum dripping

10 Various of Tasneem in hospital bed.

11 Various of Doctor Wissam injecting needle in Tasneem.

Natural Sound: Tasneem crying, Doctor saying to her: “We will only remove this. It is over. We removed it. It is over. It is over. There is nothing.”

12 SOUNDBITE (Woman, Arabic) Dr. Wissam, Director of Dar al-Rahma Medical Center

(09:20) Tasneem is a young girl aged five; she suffers from severe lymphocytic inflammation after her father was martyred. She is currently under treatment, but we are facing obstacles in supplying medicaments that have long shelf lives due to the siege on Ghouta (09:35).

(09:35) “Tasneem is not the only child who suffers from this disease. The number of children diagnosed with such diseases increased lately, due to the conditions under the siege on Ghouta. [Inadequate] nutrition or environment, as well as psychological factors largely increase the rate of these diseases.” (09:52)

13 Various of petri dish preparation

14 SOUNDBITE (Woman, Arabic) Um Imad, Tasneem’s grandmother

(10:17) Tanseem has had leukaemia for almost two years. She was treated in Damascus first, but due to circumstances we could no longer go there, I mean because of the siege. Two months ago, the condition resurfaced and we came to this center where she is being treated, thanks be to God. I wish that God rewards them [medical center workers] well (10:46)

15 Various of Tasneem walking

16 SOUNDBITE (Girl, Arabic) Tanseem, girl suffering from cancer

(11:08) My name is Tasneem. I wake up every morning, I go to school and then I play with Toufic. My grandmother then takes me to the office [clinic]; they insert a needle into my vein [UNINTELLIGIBLE].

17 Wide of Tasneem playing with other children.

18 SOUNDBITE (Girl, Arabic) Tanseem, girl suffering from cancer

(11:40) “Here is my father’s photo. He was going to Dukhanya [town in Eastern Ghouta] when he was shot by a sniper and martyred.”

“This is my cousin, I always play with her. And this is Toufic, he is older than I am. He always plays with me. This is Mohammad, my younger brother. He does not give his mother a hard time.”

“Bye.”

19 Various of decomposing cattle carcasses

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Rural Life in Ar-Raqqa 6
syria-raqqa
By TTM Contributor 3
31 Jan 2014

Child receiving vaccine against Polio in Ar-Raqqa, Syria.

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Loss of Livelihood | Tuberculosis in ...
Takeo, Cambodia
By Aman Singh
12 Jul 2013

An old patient waiting for the community health worker to arrive with the daily dose. Tuberculosis render patients weak with severe weight-loss (unable to perform physical work) and stigma at work place (infectious disease, loss of job).

Cambodia is one of the 22 countries most affected by tuberculosis in the world. The country ranks second in the prevalence rate of tuberculosis, after South Africa. To get cured, the patients have to go through a stringent six-months daily-dose therapy of multiple medications. Often, these medications cause severe side-effects and co-infections with other diseases like HIV/AIDS, Cancer, etc make the lives of patients impossible due to drug interactions. This leads to lack of compliance which may result in multi-drug resistant TB, a lethal form of the disease and almost a death warrant. Once infected, the cure from this disease under the public sector of such a country is not a small hope to live by. Therefore, there is a stark dejection in the lives of people suffering from tuberculosis.

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The Daily Dose | Tuberculosis in Camb...
Takeo, Cambodia
By Aman Singh
12 Jul 2013

A female peasant in a village consuming her daily dose of TB medication.

Cambodia is one of the 22 countries most affected by tuberculosis in the world. The country ranks second in the prevalence rate of tuberculosis, after South Africa. To get cured, the patients have to go through a stringent six-months daily-dose therapy of multiple medications. Often, these medications cause severe side-effects and co-infections with other diseases like HIV/AIDS, Cancer, etc make the lives of patients impossible due to drug interactions. This leads to lack of compliance which may result in multi-drug resistant TB, a lethal form of the disease and almost a death warrant. Once infected, the cure from this disease under the public sector of such a country is not a small hope to live by. Therefore, there is a stark dejection in the lives of people suffering from tuberculosis.

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The Daily Dose | Tuberculosis in Camb...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Aman Singh
12 Jul 2013

Hands of a patient receiving medications for the day from an NGO community health worker.

Cambodia is one of the 22 countries most affected by tuberculosis in the world. The country ranks second in the prevalence rate of tuberculosis, after South Africa. To get cured, the patients have to go through a stringent six-months daily-dose therapy of multiple medications. Often, these medications cause severe side-effects and co-infections with other diseases like HIV/AIDS, Cancer, etc make the lives of patients impossible due to drug interactions. This leads to lack of compliance which may result in multi-drug resistant TB, a lethal form of the disease and almost a death warrant. Once infected, the cure from this disease under the public sector of such a country is not a small hope to live by. Therefore, there is a stark dejection in the lives of people suffering from tuberculosis.

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Older population more vulnerable | Tu...
Takeo, Cambodia
By Aman Singh
12 Jul 2013

An old female patient with TB medicines in hand. Though the disease prevalence varies by country, TB tends to infect older people more as compared to other age groups. This is enhanced in poor population due to malnutrition and weak immune systems.

Cambodia is one of the 22 countries most affected by tuberculosis in the world. The country ranks second in the prevalence rate of tuberculosis, after South Africa. To get cured, the patients have to go through a stringent six-months daily-dose therapy of multiple medications. Often, these medications cause severe side-effects and co-infections with other diseases like HIV/AIDS, Cancer, etc make the lives of patients impossible due to drug interactions. This leads to lack of compliance which may result in multi-drug resistant TB, a lethal form of the disease and almost a death warrant. Once infected, the cure from this disease under the public sector of such a country is not a small hope to live by. Therefore, there is a stark dejection in the lives of people suffering from tuberculosis.

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Public Health Sector in Cambodia | Tu...
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Aman Singh
12 Jul 2013

A patient shown to be undergoing the chest x-ray for the diagnosis of pulmonary negative tuberculosis at CENAT. These tests are supposed to be free under the public sector, but the patients end up paying for quick access and test results.

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Isolation | Tuberculosis in Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Aman Singh
12 Jul 2013

An old patient waiting for TB test results in Phnom Penh. The patients admitted in the government hospitals are kept in separate wards away from the administration and other areas.

Cambodia is one of the 22 countries most affected by tuberculosis in the world. The country ranks second in the prevalence rate of tuberculosis, after South Africa. To get cured, the patients have to go through a stringent six-months daily-dose therapy of multiple medications. Often, these medications cause severe side-effects and co-infections with other diseases like HIV/AIDS, Cancer, etc make the lives of patients impossible due to drug interactions. This leads to lack of compliance which may result in multi-drug resistant TB, a lethal form of the disease and almost a death warrant. Once infected, the cure from this disease under the public sector of such a country is not a small hope to live by. Therefore, there is a stark dejection in the lives of people suffering from tuberculosis.

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Isolation | Tuberculosis in Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
By Aman Singh
12 Jul 2013

The TB patients admitted in the government hospitals are kept in separate wards away from the administration and other areas.

Cambodia is one of the 22 countries most affected by tuberculosis in the world. The country ranks second in the prevalence rate of tuberculosis, after South Africa. To get cured, the patients have to go through a stringent six-months daily-dose therapy of multiple medications. Often, these medications cause severe side-effects and co-infections with other diseases like HIV/AIDS, Cancer, etc make the lives of patients impossible due to drug interactions. This leads to lack of compliance which may result in multi-drug resistant TB, a lethal form of the disease and almost a death warrant. Once infected, the cure from this disease under the public sector of such a country is not a small hope to live by. Therefore, there is a stark dejection in the lives of people suffering from tuberculosis.

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Flee (11 of 15)
Cairo, Egypt
By Leyland Cecco
11 Jun 2013

Requests for medication have also been turned down, so the Oromo collect money from the community to purchase the drugs needed.

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25th Anniversary of the gas attack on...
Halabja, Iraq
By Antonio Zambardino
25 Mar 2013

The medication boxes of Ali Mahmoud Muhammad affected by Pulmonary Fibrosis since 1988. According to a medical source anyone who survived the attack and lived after it had either pulmunary fibrosis, skin conditions and asthma.

On the 16th of March 1988, an Iraqi military strike hit the Kurdish town of Halabja with the greatest attack of chemical weapons ever used against a civilian population. The weapons used were a "cocktail" of mustard gas and the nerve agents sarin, tabun and VX. These chemicals drenched the skin and clothes of the targeted people, affected their respiratory tracts and eyes and contaminated their water and food.
But a generation later, the strike on Halabja is still killing people. An increasing number of children are dying each year of leukemia and lymphomas. The cancers are more frequent in children and teenagers in Halabja than elsewhere in Iraqi Kurdistan, and many people have aggressive tumors.
No chemotherapy or radiotherapy is available in this region. The attack has left thousands people wounded physiologically too. Some statues and monument in Halabja are based on the pictures taken on the day of the attack and often show dying people instead of triumphant men in a context of greatness.
The entire city carries this legacy on its shoulders.

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Health in Uganda (16 of 49)
Luweero, Uganda
By Papillon
10 Feb 2013

Luweero, Uganda - March 10, 2013
Involvement in the promotion of better health is central in the development of Uganda as a better nation. This includes clean hospitals and health centers, schools, wells and effective community outreach programs in which people receive free medication, health services and mosquito nets. But even with the strong government efforts in reducing mortality rates, the situation is still serious and dangerous in some areas of Uganda. Children are at especially high risk of vector borne diseases including malaria, as well as water-borne diseases including bacterial diarrhea. Maternal mortality is high in Uganda, and pregnancy is still the leading cause of death for young women ages 15 through 19. The picture shows a young mother, affected by HIV/AIDS, during the daily visit in Luweero general hospital, waiting for having anti-retroviral medicine.

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HEALTH CARE IN UGANDA
Kampala, Uganda
By U.S. Editor
09 Feb 2013

Luweero, Uganda - March 10, 2013
Involvement in the promotion of better health is central in the development of Uganda as a better nation. This includes clean hospitals and health centers, schools, wells and effective community outreach programs in which people receive free medication, health services and mosquito nets. But even with the strong government efforts in reducing mortality rates, the situation is still serious and dangerous in some areas of Uganda. Children are at especially high risk of vector borne diseases including malaria, as well as water-borne diseases including bacterial diarrhea. Maternal mortality is high in Uganda, and pregnancy is still the leading cause of death for young women ages 15 through 19.

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Rural Life in Al-Raqqa
Raqqa, Syria
By TTM Contributor 3
31 Jan 2013

This is a picture of life in the rural countryside of Raqqa.