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Thursday, May 20, 1999 Published at 04:11 GMT 05:11 UK


'Mankind will never forget' hospital bombing

Serbian Deputy Premier Milovan Bojic said that Nato's targeting of a hospital in Belgrade, in which three people died, was inconceivable to the human mind, and something history and mankind would never forget.

Following is the text of report by Serbian radio on 20th May:

[Presenter] The aggressor missiles which were fired at [the Belgrade residential district of] Dedinje tonight hit and damaged the neurological department of the Dragisa Misovic hospital. According to Dr Moma Jakovljevic, there have been casualties in this attack. Several operating theatres have been destroyed or damaged. Ambulances have evacuated babies from the gynaecological department, including four newborn babies.

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Milovan Bojic has confirmed that three patients were killed in the criminal attack on the Dragisa Misovic hospital in Belgrade. The hospital buildings, especially the maternity ward, have been badly damaged. Two women suffered cuts and facial injuries while giving birth. According to Vice President Bojic, rescue teams are still searching for casualties. He added that the evacuation of babies and their transport to another hospital was under way.

[Reporter with ambulance sirens in the background] The powerful explosion reached the entrance to the [nearby] railway hospital.

[Nurse] We were in the operating theatre on the first floor, and we were performing a caesarean when the explosion occurred and all the shattered glass came down and the ceiling caved in. We managed to evacuate the babies - around 20 of them - and we took the women to the basement. Everything has been destroyed. All the women and babies are being moved to the clinic in Narodnog Fronta Street [in central Belgrade].

[Reporter] Dr Bojic, could you tell us what happened? There was a powerful explosion and you rushed here immediately.

[Serbian Deputy Premier Milovan Bojic] Yes, this is inconceivable to the human mind, that they should target hospitals. Three people were killed at the neurological department, there are many injured, women giving birth had their faces slashed open. This is a crime history and mankind will never forget.

I will not move out of the way, I am not a man who moves out of the way. I am a medical worker, and this is where I shall remain. I will stay with my patients.

[Reporter] You also work opposite here, at the railway hospital.

[Bojic] Yes. The hospital I work in has also been damaged. The ceilings and glass fell on our patients, but luckily there have been no serious injuries. The most important thing is that we have taken care of those who need help the most - newborn babies, women giving birth and expecting women.

[Nurse] We were sitting in the room next to the window when there was a terrific explosion. Everything came down crashing, there was dust and smoke everywhere.

[Reporter] Were you in the operating theatre?

Birth in the basement

[Nurse] I was in the maternity ward with a woman who was giving birth at that moment. She began smashing things around her and crossing herself. We could barely manage to move her downstairs to the basement, where she finally gave birth. We are full of dust. It was terrible. Door frames jumped out, windows were shattered in all the rooms in the department.

[Reporter] Health Minister Leposava Milicevic is here at the scene.

[Milicevic] I still do not know how many people have been injured. We shall see, we are doing everything we can. Everybody is here - people from the republican [health] headquarters, people from the emergency ward, everyone who can help.

What can we do? We have to endure this and clean up afterwards. I am the president of the board of managers at this hospital. All hospitals are my responsibility and so is this one.

[Director of Dragisa Misovic hospital] I am the director of the Dragisa Misovic hospital. Unfortunately, I have to confirm that we have had three fatalities, three patients from the neurological department.

Staff have been injured also, but we still do not know how many people. We have taken all measures to assist the injured and evacuate this part of the hospital which the criminals have attacked for the third or fourth time already. We are aided by our colleagues from the emergency ward and other institutions. We have moved the women from the maternity ward and babies to the gynaecological clinic in Narodnog Front Street. Their families should not worry, they are all fine.

Everyone here has done a very professional job. The most important thing is that the pregnant women have been taken care of. Everybody from the ambulance service and the civil defence headquarters have done their job.

Source: Radio Belgrade in Serbo-Croat, 0200 gmt 20 May 99

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.



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