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It did not take long for the infant to die. A half hour after her parents brought her into the makeshift emergency room lit by hazy flashlights, she was gone.
The 26-year-old doctor, a third-year resident, worked frantically over her lifeless body. He had not slept for a day, but he was determined to save her life. The doctor, who goes by just the name Dr. Hamza, lost the battle.
After a few minutes’ resuscitation, the girl died. The doctor wrapped a triangular cloth around the small corpse. Her mother slumped on a chair, in shock. Her father paced the room.
They had not yet named her. This baby did not die of shrapnel wounds or a sniper’s bullet. She died from a respiratory illness.
According to the charity Save the Children, the majority of children’s diseases in Syria-measles, diarrhea and respiratory illnesses-are treatable.
"When I see a wizened dead baby," said one U.N. officer. "I think: did they really die of starvation? Or did they die of some horrible disease? Or even a treatable one they can’t get drugs for?"
Sixty percent of the hospitals in Syria are damaged or destroyed; half the doctors have fled the country. Medicine is heading backward several centuries.
Water has already run out in one of the temporary gathering places for around 30,000 newly arrived refugees in South Sudan. The new refugees are sleeping under trees, with no shelter, and virtually no food. Read this first-hand account from our team leader in South Sudan .