Amid Tripoli clashes, WHO rushes medical aid to the wounded in Libya

News and Press Release
Originally published

Tripoli, 10 April 2019 - As clashes around Tripoli continued and the number of wounded rose to the hundreds, WHO reacted swiftly to provide field hospitals and ambulances with critically-needed life saving supplies.

“We have sent emergency medical teams to help frontline hospitals cope with caseloads and to support surgical staff in collaboration with the Ministry of Health," said Dr Syed Jaffar Hussain, WHO Representative in Libya. "We also plan to deploy additional emergency teams and supplies to support firstline responders and have activated three sets of contingency stocks, which were pre-positioned in strategic sites before the fighting began," he added.

Heavy shelling and gunfire in the Libyan capital over the past six days has wounded 266 people and killed 56, including an ambulance driver and two medical doctors. Thousands of people have fled their homes, while others are trapped in conflict areas. Hospitals inside and outside the city are receiving daily casualties.

In addition to pre-positioning medical supplies to support the city’s hospitals, WHO has also sent an emergency medical team with trauma supplies to Tarhouna Hospital near Tripoli, and is also working with partners to support the medical needs of the displaced and migrants.

The work of ambulance and hospital teams is being hampered however, by continuous shelling and armed clashes, including around heavily populated residential areas. Emergency teams face fuel shortages and migrants, who have been moved from detention centres, may not be receiving the medical care they need.

“We fear that prolonged conflict will lead to more casualties, drain the area’s limited supplies and further damage health infrastructure,” said Dr Hussain. “We call on the international community to ensure adequate funding to support the current crisis.”

For further information, please contact:

Laura Sheahen
Emergency Communications
WHO Libya (based in Tunis)
+216 58 777 811