accessibility & help

Red Cross steps up medical aid in Libya

30 August 2011

ICRC nurse examining the injuries of a patient shot in both legs. Armed conflict in Libya continues to take a heavy toll on civilians. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is helping wounded people in Tripoli, redoubling efforts to visit detainees and taking steps to ease water shortages.

To help with the shortage of medical staff in Tripoli, two ICRC surgical teams are operating on patients at Sbea Hospital in the south-east of the city. When the Abu Salim Hospital stopped functioning due to lack of staff, the ICRC transported 17 patients to the Tripoli Medical Centre. There the patients could receive the urgent assistance they needed.

Georges Comninos, head of the ICRC delegation in Tripoli, said: "Parties to the conflict must protect wounded people and ensure they have access to healthcare. If a medical facility is located in an area heavily affected by fighting, the wounded need to be taken quickly to a safer place to receive urgent treatment."

The ICRC is also distributing additional medical supplies – enough to treat between 450 and 500 people – to main hospitals and local clinics.

Ensuring that people are treated with dignity

The ICRC is visiting people detained in connection with the armed conflict in various parts of Libya. On 28 and 29 August, it visited 135 detainees in Tripoli to assess the conditions in which they are held. George said: "A constructive dialogue is developing with the detaining authorities, so we hope to visit many more detainees in the coming days.”

Water shortages in Tripoli and western Libya are making it difficult for people to obtain drinking water. Bottled water is running out in the shops and the main regional water reservoir in Gharyan is empty. The ICRC is in contact with the authorities, supporting efforts to restore the normal water supply.

The ICRC is helping ensure that the bodies of those who have died are properly handled, identified and are returned to their families as quickly as possible. It is also distributing items such as body bags and training volunteers from the Libyan Red Crescent in Tripoli and other places in dead body management.

Read how the British Red Cross is helping in Libya


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