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Cairo, 24 November 2016 - We have learnt about a deadly attack on the M2 hospital in eastern Aleppo last week, where UNFPA supports reproductive health services to protect the health of women and newborns. This attack resulted in the killing of five people with more people injured, and in material damage making the hospital out of service and difficult to fix due to lack of access to its location. It also follows earlier attacks on the same hospital, leaving the number of health facilities still standing and the number of health personnel still working diminished to an unbearable level; only one health structure remains able to provide medical services related to complicated deliveries, including C-sections in a wide area

We are extremely concerned about the situation of civilians in eastern Aleppo, particularly the estimated 7,200 pregnant women and girls, of whom an estimated one-third have sought or will seek medical services at the M2 hospital. On average, five deliveries take place at the hospital each day, a number itself diminished from seven in August because of the prevailing insecurity, in addition to some ten c-sections per week.

Due to the fighting, women’s health and well-being are threatened by reduced access to reproductive health services.  Many pregnant women are afraid to seek medical attention and thus give birth at home, which poses a significant health risk if there are complications.

Today parts of eastern Aleppo have been completely sealed off, with humanitarian agencies unable to deliver much needed assistance. UNFPA is working around-the-clock with UN partners to reach civilians in need with life-saving supplies services.

We reiterate that under international humanitarian law, hospitals and medical structures, vehicles and personnel should not be targeted. We call on all parties to stop attacks on hospitals, civilians and aid workers, and to allow immediate humanitarian access without restrictions.