Red Crescent first-aiders help Riyadh bomb victims

Published: 14 May 2003 0:00 CET

Only seven minutes after the suicide bomb attacks at three residential complexes in Riyadh, volunteers of the Saudi Arabian Red Crescent Society (SARC) were on the scene, administering first aid and transporting the wounded to hospital. Some 34 people were killed in the blasts and around 200 injured.

The experienced SARC first-aiders assisted more than 111 of the injured people and transported some 90 of the most serious cases to six nearby hospitals. Eleven were treated on the spot.

"The response to the attacks by SARC was very satisfactory. We were able to mobilise our teams from everywhere in the capital" said Dr. Saleh Al Touaijiri, Vice president of the SARC, who led the rescue operation.

"As soon as we arrived on site, we provided first aid and then we sorted out the cases and transported the most critical ones to hospital only minutes after the explosion", he added.

The relief operation lasted eight hours. The emergency medical teams started the operation at 23:27 late on the night of 12 May and worked until 08:00 the next morning. The Saudi Arabian Red Crescent, which is the lead relief agency in Saudi Arabia, mobilised 37 ambulances and more than 97 volunteers to assist victims in the three locations where the explosions took place. Thirteen more people coordinated the operation from the SARC dispatch room.

The SARC has 700 first-aiders, 200 active volunteers, 100 doctors, and 200 fixed medical centres. It also manages many mobile medical centres, which can be deployed during big events such as the Hajj pilgrimage.

Last week, the SARC did a simulation emergency operation to evaluate its response capacity. This week, the speculation became a reality and the exercise paid off.

Related links:

Profile of Saudi Red Crescent Society