My Shock at Seeing the Victims of Afghan War; N. Wales Nurse Treats Civilian Casualties of US Air Strikes

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), November 1, 2001 | Go to article overview

My Shock at Seeing the Victims of Afghan War; N. Wales Nurse Treats Civilian Casualties of US Air Strikes


Byline: David Powell

A NORTH Wales nurse working in Afghanistan last night spoke of her shock after treating civilian casualties of the Allied bombings.

Kate Rowlands, 45, from Conwy, said her hospital in Northern Alliancecontrolled territory in the Panjshir Valley, 60km from the capital Kabul, received its first victims of the US-led air strikes on Saturday.

The nurse said the victims ranged from a baby to middle aged people.

Speaking from Afghanistan, she said: "On Saturday, we received our first patients from the American bombing - civilian casualties. It came as a huge shock to everybody.

"They are targeting military targets, that's all well and good in theory.

"But the older people and young people have nothing to do with it. Nobody asks for war.

"There were 15 casualties from the US bombardments ranging from one year to 55 years - men, women, boys and girls. They had shrapnel blast and shell injuries.

"Nine were admitted and seven of them had to have surgery. Two more were kept in for observation."

Two of the 15 had been treated near the blast sites.

"Fortunately, they were resuscitated and transported by our ambulance to the hospital here. Obviously they were in a state of shock. I can't really describe it in detail."

Her 120-bed Emergency Surgical Centre for War Victims, run by Milan-based charity Emergency, usually treats victims of the ongoing conflict between Taliban, Northern Alliance and other forces.

She said: "The hospital is for direct war-related patients and maybe some war surgery patients. Unfortunately we get a large proportion of mine injuries and people injured from the ongoing conflict."

Ms Rowlands added: "One family had lost one child and another relative.

"In another, three members of the family were wounded and they did not know what had happened to the others. …

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