June 10, 2000 International Tribunal for U.S./NATO warcrimes in Yugoslavia
NATO'S WAR AGAINST PUBLIC HEALTH
by Ellen Catalinotto
Ellen Catalinotto is a midwife who has delivered over 1,200 babies to mostly poor women in the New York City. She also cares for HIV infected women and is involved in research on ways to prevent the transmission of HIV from pregnant women to their babies. She reported on NATOs bombing of 33 hospitals including damage to the maternity ward at Dragisa Micovic hospital in Belgrade.
Perhaps the simplest way to present the evidence of NATO war crimes against the people of Yugoslavia would be to read this list of the 33 hospitals and other health care facilities that were bombed last year, but just to name them all would take longer than the few minutes I have been allotted. The main sources for the information we now present are Associated Press, Reuters, BBC and Agence France Presse news releases.
From the first days of the bombing, when the Hospital and Medical Center and Gerontological Center in Leskovac were hit on March 25, 1999 and the Pristina dental station on March 29, destruction of these civilian structures occurred with regularity too great to be attributed to smart bombs gone astray.
The Dragisa Misovic medical center in Belgrade, bombed on May 19, 1999, is a complex of 20 separate buildings half a kilometer from the nearest military facility. The Neurological Institute was hit, killing 3 people and wounding many more, and the nearby maternity section suffered damage. At the time of the attack 4 deliveries were taking place. The windows were shattered and two mothers recovering from cesarian sections suffered cuts to their faces. Women in labor, mothers who had just delivered and their newborns had to be evacuated to another maternity hospital.
The Institute for Prematurely Born Infants in Belgrade lost electricity after a NATO attack on the nearby power plant on May 2. In spite of emergency generators, there was not enough power to supply the respirators and nurses had to ventilate their tiny patients by hand. Seventy of the 111 babies in the hospital were in incubators that operate on electricity to supply the warmth these frail infants need to survive.
Because the bombing of chemical factories released many toxins and possible teratogens agents which cause birth defects women in Yugoslavia have been advised not to become pregnant for now.
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