Tripoli, April 14, 2019 (AFP) - Fighting near Tripoli has killed 121 people and wounded 561 since strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive earlier this month to take the Libyan capital, the World Health Organization said Sunday. WHO's Libya account said on Twitter the organisation was sending medical supplies and more staff to Tripoli, and denounced "repeated attacks on health care workers, vehicles" during the fighting which erupted on April 4. Haftar's forces, which control swathes of the country's east, have defied international calls to halt their battle against fighters loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli.
The United Nations' office for humanitarian affairs said more than 13,500 people had been displaced by the clashes, while more than 900 residents are living in shelters. "Three medical personnel have been killed and five ambulances have been incapacitated by shrapnel," OCHA said in a Saturday statement. As well as fighting on the ground, the two sides have launched daily air raids and accuse each other of targeting civilians. The north African country has been in turmoil since the NATO-backed overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, which has led to the creation of a bewildering array of militias all seeking to take control. Haftar backs a rival administration based in eastern Libya that refuses to recognise the UN-backed unity government led by Fayez al-Sarraj.
Tripoli, 11 April – 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 first line responders and have activated 3 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 6 days has wounded 266 people and killed 56, including an ambulance driver and 2 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.
But the work of ambulance and hospital teams is being hampered 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.”
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2019 22:15:38 +0200 By Imed Lamloum
Tripoli, April 8, 2019 (AFP) - Fighting raged around Tripoli and an air strike closed its only functioning airport Monday, as Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar defied international calls to halt his advance on the capital. Thousands were also reported by the United Nations to be fleeing the capital city in the face of Haftar's surprise assault which has left dozens dead. French President Emmanuel Macron held a telephone interview with Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord. The internationally recognised GNA said Macron had spoken of his "total opposition to the offensive against the capital and the endangering of civilian lives". The French presidency confirmed the call took place, without releasing details of the discussion.
The EU's foreign policy chief added her voice to those urging Haftar to stop his offensive, after calls for restraint by the UN Security Council and the United States. "I make a very strong appeal to Libyan leaders and in particular to Haftar to stop all military activities... and to return to the negotiation table", Federica Mogherini said after talks with EU foreign ministers. Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army claimed Monday's air strike against Mitiga airport, east of the capital. LNA spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari said the strike targeted a MiG-23 military plane and a helicopter. A security source at the airport said the strike hit a runway without causing casualties. The UN's envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, denounced the strike. "This attack constitutes a serious violation of international humanitarian law which prohibits attacks against civilian infrastructure," Salame said. A spokesman for national carrier Libyan Airlines said the civil aviation authority decided "to suspend aerial traffic until further notice". An airport source, who did want to be named, confirmed the suspension.
- 'Immediate halt' - The oil-rich northern African country has been rocked by violent power struggles between an array of armed groups since the NATO-backed overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. Haftar, a former Kadhafi military chief, has emerged as a major player. His LNA backs an administration in the country's east in opposition to the UN-backed GNA. Having seized control of much of eastern Libya -- and buoyed by a series of victories in the desert south -- Haftar turned his sights on Tripoli, vowing to "cleanse" it of "terrorists and mercenaries". After a pause overnight, fighting resumed Monday morning around the capital's destroyed main airport, some 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of Tripoli, and the rural area of Wadi Rabi further east. World powers have expressed alarm at the violence, saying it threatens to further destabilise Libya and derail UN-led efforts to find a political solution to the country's woes.
The US has appealed for an "immediate halt" to combat operations and the UN Security Council has called on Haftar's forces to stop their advance. On Sunday Russia blocked proposals for the council to adopt a formal statement, instead insisting that all Libyan forces be urged to stop fighting, diplomats said. Moscow is a key supporter of Haftar, along with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. But the Kremlin on Monday urged "all sides to reject actions that could provoke bloodshed in battle and the deaths of civilians". Fierce clashes Sunday near Tripoli saw Haftar's fighters and other powerful western Libyan armed groups exchanging fire including air strikes. Forces backing the Tripoli-based GNA on Sunday announced a counteroffensive dubbed "Volcano of Anger". Spokesman Colonel Mohamed Gnounou said it was aimed at "purging all Libyan cities of aggressor and illegitimate forces", in reference to Haftar's fighters.
- Civil war fears - Unity government health minister A'hmid Omar told Libya's Al-Ahrar television station late Sunday that around 50 people had been wounded along with those killed. His ministry on Monday put the death toll at 35. Haftar's forces have said 14 of their fighters have died. The UN said on Monday that the fighting has displaced some 3,400 people, up from an earlier estimate of 2,800. "Clashes with heavy weapons are affecting residential areas, and an unknown number of civilians are unable to flee these locations," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York. "We have no positive news to report on our call for a humanitarian truce." Haftar's offensive has threatened to plunge the country into a full-blown civil war and once again thwart diplomatic efforts to find a solution to Libya's woes. It was launched just days ahead of a planned UN conference aimed at uniting Libya's rivals and paving the way for elections. The UN's Salame has insisted the international community is "determined" to go ahead with the April 14-16 conference. The UN mission in Libya said on Twitter that Salame met Monday with Sarraj in Tripoli to discuss how to "assist at this critical and difficult juncture".
6 March 2019 – In response to increasing violence in Sabha City, southern Libya, the World Health Organization (WHO) has delivered trauma medicines sufficient for more than 400 patients requiring trauma care to Sabha Medical Centre, Murzuq General hospital and Ghodwa field hospital. WHO has also delivered 6 incubators and 2 ventilators to the neonatal intensive care unit of Sabha Medical Centre, and pre-positioned additional trauma medicines at the Medical Supply Office in Sabha to be delivered to health facilities as needed.
Clashes between armed groups in Sabha and Murzuq in February resulted in increasing numbers of injured patients, overwhelming health facilities already facing shortages of specialists and medical supplies. The total number of casualties is 250, which includes 44 dead and 206 wounded.
In late February, WHO joined the first United Nations Interagency Mission to Sabha in many years. During the 3-day mission, WHO launched a subnational health sector working group in Sabha to coordinate health activities, with membership of 6 partners, 1 observer and 3 government institutions in southern Libya. WHO, together with the National Centre for Disease Control, management from Sabha Medical Centre, and the Medical Supply Office, agreed to scale up support for the national tuberculosis programme and national AIDS programme.
“As a result of WHO’s constructive discussions with local authorities in southern Libya, and in line with WHO’s strategic goal to expand and strengthen the field emergency coordination, WHO will establish a satellite logistics hub in Sabha to preposition all medical supplies for the south, in addition to part of our contingency stocks for the country as a whole. WHO will also supporting the national tuberculosis and AIDS programmes with essential medicines, diagnostic supplies and capacity-building for health staff throughout 2019. WHO and National Centre for Disease Control have also agreed to improve access of migrants to public health services,” said Dr Syed Jaffar Hussein, WHO Representative in Libya.
In November 2018, WHO supported the National Centre to train and deploy 3 rapid response teams to respond to all infectious disease outbreaks. WHO also deployed a psychiatrist to provide regular consultations and treatment to mental health patients in Sabha, Ubari and Ash Shatti. WHO is also in the process of deploying 4 emergency medical teams to Sabha, Murzuq, Ghat and Ubari to provide specialized health care services and upgrade the capacities of the four main hospitals in these areas.
To ensure basic health services are available to all people in need in the areas WHO is implementing a Minimum Health Service Package in Ash Shatti and Ubari that support 2 main hospitals and 5 primary health care centres with essential medicines, medical supplies, laboratory supplies and training of health workers.
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2019 20:02:32 +0100
Tripoli, Feb 27, 2019 (AFP) - At least 5,000 cases of a potentially deadly tropical disease have been registered in Libya in the past six months, the country's health ministry said Wednesday. Leishmaniasis, which is caused by a microscopic parasite spread by sandflies, creates ulcers and disfiguring scars, and one variety can attack internal organs. It is often associated with poverty and poor urban sanitation. "There are currently 5,000 patients who are being treated," said Ahmad al-Qarari, who heads the centre for disease control at the health ministry of Libya's UN-backed unity government.
But he told AFP that these were only cases which have been registered by the authorities, noting that the extent of the problem remains unknown because some patients do not seek treatment. Qarari said the World Health Organization was providing Libya with treatment from India and that a new batch of medication was due next week. Most of the cases were registered along North African country's Mediterranean coast west of the capital, Tripoli. Mansour Souleiman said he contracted the disease while harvesting olives in December. "I noticed small lesions (on my skin) and at first I thought they were caused by insect bites," he said at a clinic in Tripoli where authorities provide treatment. Within a month they became ulcers, he said.
According to WHO estimates published in 2018, there are about 700,000 to one million cases of leishmaniasis globally every year, with 20,000-30,000 people dying of the disease. Qarari said it first appeared in Libya a century ago and more recently in 2006. "The government must organise awareness campaigns continuously because this disease has become endemic," Qarari said. Libya has been rocked by deadly conflict and its economy thrown into turmoil since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising which toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.