A hospital needs electricity

Running hospitals is Syria is more complicated than you could possibly imagine.

Aside from the obvious issues like protecting the team and hospital there are many other challenges to deal with behind the scenes.

One of the hospitals we are supporting is in an area where the fighting is fiercest in Syria and is providing an emergency medical service in the most unbelievable conditions. The team put their lives on the line working in an area where most Syrians wouldn't even visit, yet they don't even have some of the most basic resources needed, like electricity.

That's right, they are running a hospital and performing operations without something as basic as electricity.

There are so many things they are lacking that I can't even begin to list them. Yet the team are so committed. I am so moved by their selfless devotion that I am keen to do what we can to encourage and support them.

One of the things they need most right now is electricity, so I want to buy them a generator. You might think that this would be a relatively straight forward solution except this is fraught with a unique set of complications.

Firstly, fuel to run the generator is very scarce and expensive. Sourcing fuel in Syria is becoming harder and the available fuel is often contaminated which causes both ambulance engines and generators alike to break down. Spare parts are also extremely expensive, especially if they need to be sourced outside Syria.

Until recently we have held back from looking into a solar powered generator. Although it makes perfect sense in a country with such a wealth of sunshine, these types of generator cost around £3-4,000 including the solar panels and batteries to store the power for times when the sun isn't shining.

But I am keen to support this amazing team. I am also keen to get one for our hospital Meljar in the desert as the generator there has broken down twice since it opened in May because of problems with fuel contamination.

However, even what seems like the perfect solution is not straight forward in Syria. One of these generators will be perfect for Meljar Hospital, but for the hospital in the more dangerous area we have had to accept that it would probably be like painting a target on top of the hospital.

In an area where hospitals are so activity targeted there is a strong possibility that the solar panels would appear suspicious as devices for some sort of intelligence or simply as an asset that one of the warring parties might want to destroy. Clearly this would compromise the lives of the team, the patients, the hospital....

Then there is the issue of theft. In an area where there is no electricity, a piece of equipment like this would be a very valuable asset which would attract a lot of attention. It would have to be placed outside to receive the sun's rays, but would also attract the attention of thieves.

But a hospital needs electricity.

We now have a team working hard to adapt an existing device to work with a generator, that will supply electricity by converting bio waste to gas which can then be used to run the generator.

This is a brilliant solution to this problem because waste from the community can be recycled to supply the hospital's power needs. This means that once the costs of the generator and the sustainable fuel producing device have been covered, the fuel for the hospital will be free. The generator can be placed in a safe place where it doesn't attract unwanted attention that compromises the safety of the hospital or the safety of the equipment itself.

Where there is a will, there is always a way!

To see more about our hospitals see www.samarasaidappeal.org/our-hospitals