Humanitarian agencies are struggling to cope with casualties from the fierce fighting throughout Libya and for the increasing medical needs of evacuees staying in transit camps. AmeriCares has delivered two more emergency shipments of medical supplies for distribution and use by our partners for hospitals and clinics in the city of Benghazi and in border areas.
Nearly 11,000 pounds of critically needed medical aid was shipped from our warehouses in Amsterdam and Stamford, Connecticut to Cairo, to be trucked to the Libyan border to supply medical teams providing humanitarian health services inside Libya and in camps. The shipments, containing more than $1.5 million in aid, included surgical, burn and wound care supplies, cardiovascular and diabetic medicines, as well as pain relievers, antibiotics and anesthetics.
AmeriCares continues to coordinate emergency aid with our partners working on the ground in Libya as relief workers navigate the difficulty of providing critical health care in a zone of conflict.
The Continuing Conflict
With no immediate signs of a cease-fire by Qaddafi government forces and the continuation of the international effort to maintain a UN-mandated no-fly zone, the expanded conflict is sending many civilians from cities to seek shelter in nearby towns and driving more refugees to the border. In one small town outside Ajdabiya where nearly 25,000 have fled the violence, there are reports of as many as 45 people taking refuge in a single house with no electricity or running water.
Since the crisis began in early March, more than 500,000 people have fled the country and thousands remain stranded along Libya’s borders with Tunisia and Egypt.
The humanitarian situation inside Libya remains uncertain. With every escalation in fighting, hospitals have reported shortages in medical resources. Prices of food and other commodities have increased exponentially and the food supply chain in Libya continues to be interrupted due to the unrest.
After tribal leaders and health care providers requested humanitarian assistance in the border areas where transit camps sprang up, AmeriCares rushed our first emergency shipment on March 3 that contained enough antibiotics, pain relievers, basic chronic care medicines and other medical supplies to treat an estimated 15,000 patients. The first shipment of medical aid was delivered to our partner on the ground to support clinics and medical teams treating victims of the conflict inside Libya and for basic health services in the border transit camps.
“Medical needs in Libya are on the rise due to the civil conflict and are getting worse from shortages of available medical staff and depleted resources at hospitals,” said Christoph Gorder, senior vice president of global program operations for AmeriCares. “We are working with our partners in Libya and based on their assessments in the camps and in the Libyan cities where fighting continues, we are prepared to provide additional medical aid as needed both at the border and in country.”
For more than 25 years AmeriCares has provided medical relief and humanitarian assistance to millions affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. Disaster relief and emergency medical supplies are strategically stocked and positioned to help people in crisis, wherever and whenever they need it.