24-07-2003 Operational Update
On 23 July, the security situation in central Monrovia remained extremely precarious. Although shelling subsided, stray bullets and marauding militiamen made movement difficult.
Extensive looting engulfed the neighbourhood where John F. Kennedy Hospital – the only major medical facility still functioning – is located, and warehouses, offices and residences of a number of non-governmental organizations were affected. The route from the ICRC compound to JFK Hospital remained unsafe. Families of ICRC staff were taken to the compound for safety.
French photographer Patrick Robert, who was operated on last week by ICRC staff, was evacuated on 23 July to Abidjan. An ICRC vehicle and surgeon took him from JFK Hospital to Monrovia’s main airport where he boarded an aircraft chartered by the French government.
On 22 July, Médecins Sans Frontières and the ICRC succeeded in transferring 16 patients from MSF’s emergency clinic to JFK Hospital for proper treatment.
JFK Hospital admitted at least 150 new patients over a 24-hour period, bringing the total to over 300. Six ICRC medical staff members and some 120 Liberian employees are currently working in the hospital.
Dominique Liengme, ICRC Monrovia, tel. ++377 475 13 470
Roland Sidler, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 20 45; ++41 79 217 32 58