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13 Aug, 2008 07:58

Worst of the war wounded to be treated in Moscow

An influx of thousands of injured victims of the conflict in South Ossetia have started arriving in Moscow for specialist medical treatment. Hit by Georgian attacks on their homes and hospitals, they were forced to hide in cellars for days.

As their wounds decayed in the August heat, many refugees scrambled through mountains and slept in forests to get to Vladikavkaz.

Those who have received wounds that cannot be treated in South Ossetia’s hospitals, with wounds caused by everything from burns and bullets to mines and grenades, are being flown from Vladikavkaz to specialist hospitals in Moscow.

None of the wounded who have so far arrived in Moscow, a mixture of Ossetians and Russians, were well enough to answer doctors' basic questions.

A clinic in north-west Moscow has received the first of its war patients. Its senior doctor, Aleksey Kuzmichev, says the nature of Georgia's bombing campaign guaranteed multiple civilian casualties, as many are wounded by mines and artillery shelling.  

“As soon as the war started we reduced our number of regular patients in preparation for the wounded. We knew there would be vast numbers of victims,” he said.

The injured are also being checked by psychologists. Doctors say the cases of mental trauma suffered by Ossetian victims are some of the worst they have seen.