CPJ safety advisory: use of chemical real estate agents in the Mosul offensive

This posting is an important update by the Committee to protect journalists and the freedom of the press worldwide:

A dozen civilians, which includes women and children, have been treated meant for suspected exposure to a blistering chemical substance agent following an Islamic Condition (IS) attack on East Mosul, Iraq, last week, according to news reviews. The International Committee of the Reddish colored Cross (ICRC) and the World Wellness Organization (WHO) said over the weekend they are investigating the incident. Today, the particular Emergencies Response Team (ERT) in the Committee to Protect Journalists issued these safety advisory on chemical tool exposure for journalists covering or even planning to cover the Mosul unpleasant.

IS is believed to used chemical weapons more than 50 occasions since 2014, according to a Nov 2016 document by the London-based analysis and intelligence gathering group IHS. When Iraqi armed forces retook Mosul University in January 2017, they will found weapons making labs and also a tank of chemicals believed to be mustard gas, according to news reports.

“[IS] not just have the expertise, but the precursor components to manufacture mustard gas in big amounts. The tactic seems to be when within desperation use the mustard agent since it is very effective against Iraqi and Peshmerga forces, many of whom lack respiratory system protection, ” Hamish de Bretton Gordon, a chemical weapons professional and Managing Director of the safety firm Avon Protection, told CPJ. “Its primary military purpose would be to deny ground and cause casualties, not kill people. However , when it is inhaled in its gaseous form it can be fatal. ”

Mustard agent causes persistent scorching to skin and mucous walls. Exposure symptoms also include redness within the eyes, irritation, vomiting and hacking and coughing.

A number of media stores with staff on the ground in Mosul have given their journalists chemical substance weapon training that focuses on methods to don personal protective equipment plus decontamination. But even with this exercising, covering any sort of chemical attack is very dangerous.

All media covering the Mosul offensive, including nearby and international freelancers, are encouraged to buy appropriate respiratory protection. Escape hoods or gas masks with CBRN canisters are a bare minimum. Other defensive equipment to consider are overboots, tyvek suits, rubber gloves and a long lasting plastic bag to dispose of polluted clothing.

Avon Security has issued the following advisory in order to media crews operating on the ground with all the information for journalists at risk of contact with chemical agents in Mosul. CPJ encourages journalists working in Mosul to follow along with it:

  1. Stay away from the affected area where possible, specifically areas previously targeted.
  2. Carry an escape hood at all times in the area.
  3. Carry PPE within vehicles (overboots, suits, gloves, Decontamination mitts).
  4. Keep over the weather, especially wind direction. At all times stay upwind of an affected region.
  5. If someone displays signs of difficulty in breathing, redness of epidermis, extract cross wind to clean region, remove clothing, decontaminate suspected polluted areas of skin, wash with lots of drinking water and remove to medical service. If contamination is in eyes, remove eyes out with copious levels of water.
  6. Seek medical attention.

Please note that will since the beginning of the Mosul crisis, the particular WHO and the ICRC have been dealing with local health authorities to ensure readiness for the use of chemical weapons. As part of the chemical weapons contingency plan, 120 clinicians have been trained and supplied with equipment to safely decontaminate plus stabilise patients before they are known pre-identified hospitals for further care.

West Erbil Hospital, also referred to as Rojhawa Emergency hospital, is the primary hospital for treating chemical casualties. Field decontamination facilities–for instance within the Sheikhan district–and units for the leveling of contaminated in all field private hospitals have also been put in place.

For extra information on medical centers in the region make sure you see: http://www.dfr.gov.krd/p/p.aspx?p=63&l=12&s=040100&r=374 .

For additional security information for those covering the Mosul unpleasant, please read:

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