New life amid the ruins of maternity hospital in Mosul

A view of a maternity hospital damaged from the war against Daesh militants in east Mosul, Iraq August 15, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 16 August 2017
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New life amid the ruins of maternity hospital in Mosul

MOSUL: As yet unnamed twin babies lie in an incubator in a run-down room in Mosul’s main maternity hospital. Less than two weeks old, they are two of seven newborns crammed into a makeshift premature baby ward.
Born just three weeks after Iraqi forces declared that they had finally recaptured the last part of the city from Daesh, the twins would not know what it is like to grow up under the rebels’ draconian rule. But they are lucky in more ways than one — had they been born months earlier, their chances of survival would have been slim as the hospital’s neo-natal wings had been burned down by the militants.
Al-Khansa Hospital in East Mosul may be a shell of its former self but it is still the city’s main government-run maternity facility. Last month, despite severe shortages of medicines and equipment, it delivered nearly 1,400 babies.
When Daesh took over Mosul in 2014, the hospital stayed open — but residents were only allowed to use a quarter of it.
“We had all these fighters and their wives coming in and giving birth here,” said hospital administrator Dr. Aziz, adding that he had lost count of the number of militants’ babies delivered in his facility. “Mosul’s local residents always came second.”
As Iraqi forces began their campaign to liberate the city from Daesh control last year, the militants took over Al-Khansa, kicking out patients and sometimes shooting at staff to make them leave.
“We kept it open as long as we could,” Aziz said.


Algeria deports nearly 400 migrants back to Niger

Updated 15 July 2018
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Algeria deports nearly 400 migrants back to Niger

  • The IOM and EU are intensifying efforts to return African migrants home
  • 391 migrants from 16 west and central African countries had arrived in Assamaka

NIAMEY: Algeria has deported nearly 400 African migrants trying to reach Europe, sending them back over the Sahara desert into neighboring Niger, the UN migration agency (IOM) and Niger said on Sunday.
The IOM and European Union are intensifying efforts to return African migrants home, after thousands have died making the dangerous crossing to Europe across the Mediterranean in overcrowded boats. Many get stuck before ever reaching Africa’s northern coast, either in Libya, where they suffer slavery and abuse at the hands of militias, or Algeria.
IOM operations officer Livia Manente told Reuters in an email that the group of 391 migrants from 16 west and central African countries had arrived in the Nigerien town of Assamaka on Friday on about 20-30 vehicles, after being stopped while heading to work in various Algerian cities.
“They claim their phones were confiscated and that conditions were poor — not much food and water, crowded rooms),” she said. “They were transported in trucks after the locality of In Guezzam and then obliged to walk across the border ... including families with pregnant women and children.”
Aboubacar Ajouel, the mayor of Agadez, the last destination for the migrants, confirmed that they had arrived.
Algeria declined to confirm this particular deportation, but said that 20,000 migrants had been prevented from reaching Europe by Algerian authorities since January, thanks to security measures put in place at its borders with Mali and Niger.
“We have no choice but to prevent them,” Hassen Kacimi, director of Algeria’s interior ministry in charge of migration, told Reuters by telephone.