Violence in southern Tripoli, Libya has left almost 50 people dead and more than 125 others injured and in need of urgent, life-saving medical care. The situation remains volatile, and increasing number of casualties are anticipated in the coming days. Attacks on health care have also been reported, with a physiotherapy centre in Ain Zara partially damaged by a shell on 2 September.
To support the response efforts of the Ministry of Health, WHO is deploying 10 mobile emergency trauma teams consisting of doctors, paramedics, essential medicines and medical equipment to areas where fighting is ongoing. WHO has also delivered trauma medicines for 200 critical cases, and has enough medicines for 2000 more cases on standby to deliver to hospitals as needed. Medicines for the treatment of chronic disease have been delivered to health facilities in areas hosting people who have been displaced as a result of the violence. WHO teams are also visiting schools and other locations where displaced people are seeking shelter to identify additional health needs.
“WHO is working with national health authorities and partners on the ground to respond to increasing health needs, but roadblocks remain a major challenge to the delivery of health care, especially ambulances that are unable to reach the injured,” said Dr Syed Jaffar Hussain, WHO Representative in Libya. “With greater numbers of injured civilians expected, it is imperative that doctors and other health staff be allowed to move freely so that they can save lives without delay, and without risk to their own personal safety.”
Since mid-2014, fighting in populated areas has continued across Libya, leading to civilian casualties, attacks on health staff and health facilities, and resulting in mass displacement. In the last 12 months alone, an estimated 1.1 million people have been directly affected by the ongoing crisis and are in need of health aid, including more than 180 000 people who are internally displaced.