Longford doctor safe after Afghan hospital bombing

Longford-born Dr Declan Barry worked until recently at the hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz, which last week was hit by a devastating bomb attack that killed 19 staff and patients.
There is a sense of relief this week that Longford doctor, Declan Barry is safe and well following the recent bombings at a hospital in Afghanistan where Mr Barry had worked until just two weeks ago.

There is a sense of relief this week that Longford doctor, Declan Barry is safe and well following the recent bombings at a hospital in Afghanistan where Mr Barry had worked until just two weeks ago.

Deadly airstrikes hit the hospital in Kunduz on October 3 last killing 19 staff and patients, and injuring a further 37 people.

The international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said it condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the horrific aerial bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

“Twelve staff members and at least seven patients, including three children, were killed; 37 people were injured including 19 staff members,” a spokesperson said.

“The organisation also said that the attack constituted a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law and all indications currently pointed to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces.

“MSF demands a full and transparent account from the Coalition regarding its aerial bombing activities over Kunduz on Saturday morning and also calls for an independent investigation of the attack to ensure maximum transparency and accountability,” a spokesperson added.

“This attack is abhorrent and a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.

“We demand total transparency from Coalition forces. We cannot accept that this horrific loss of life will simply be dismissed as collateral damage.”

Meanwhile, Dr Barry who is a paediatrician has returned home.

In a recent article in the MSF magazine ‘Without Borders’, Mr Barry spoke about his role at the hospital in Kunduz and pointed to the fact that it was the only one of its kind in the region providing surgery to victims of bomb blasts and gunshots as well as general trauma.

During a discussion on what Dr Barry described as “one night of the most intense ‘fighting season’ in years”, he spoke of stretchers being lined up at the hospital holding ten boys aged from eight to 18 who were blown to pieces after a mortar bomb landed outside their Madrasa earlier that evening.

“Two boys died instantly,” said Dr Barry.

“The community decided to bring only the ten most severely injured to our hospital.

“The blast had injured one boy’s eye, which would now have to be removed.

“Next to him was an older boy with head trauma and his right hand blown off.”

In the weeks since the announcement of the the annual ‘fighting season’, staff at MSF’s trauma centre have treated hundreds of war-wounded patients, many of whom are women and children.

Son of Imelda and the late John Barry, Declan is also a past pupil of St Mel’s College, Longford. His sister Emer is well known in musical circles and his older brother Ronan lives in Brussels.