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Libya: ICRC supplies Sirte hospital with urgently needed medical assistance

01-10-2011 News Release 11/71

Tripoli / Geneva (ICRC) – On saturday 1st October, a team of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was finally able to enter Sirte, which has been under siege for weeks. The team included a doctor and crossed in overland from Misrata. It reached Ibn Sina hospital, inside Sirte, and delivered urgently needed surgical material to treat about 200 wounded people, including dressing kits, body bags, and 400 litres of fuel to run the hospital's generator.

"The conditions under which medical personnel have had to work over the past weeks have been extremely difficult," said Hichem Khadraoui, who headed the operation. "The hospital is facing a huge influx of patients, medical supplies are running out and there is a desperate need for oxygen. On top of that, the water reservoir has been damaged."

Due to the volatile security situation, the team could not stay long enough to fully assess the humanitarian needs of civilians. That said, the ICRC team has been able to meet with representatives of civil society, who reported dire needs in terms of drinking water, food supplies – in particular baby food –  and hygiene items. "For the ICRC, it is of utmost importance to be able to assist all people affected by the conflict – civilians and war wounded fighters alike. We are committed to returning to Sirte as soon as possible," said Mr Khadraoui.

The ICRC reminds all parties to the conflict of their obligation under international humanitarian law to take all possible measures of precaution in order to spare civilian lives and allow safe access for medical personnel.

For further information, please contact:
Soaade Messoudi, ICRC Tripoli, tel. +218 913 066 198 or +88 21 651 075 912
Dibeh Fakhr, ICRC Benghazi, tel. +870 772 390 124 (ext. 250)  or  +218 9 923 304 560
Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 79 217 32 24 or +41 22 730 24 58