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Libya: ICRC sends medical teams to the region

23-02-2011 News Release 11/38

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is stepping up its preparations to support medical facilities and treat the injured in Libyan cities where violence has taken place over the past few days. It is sending medical teams and surgical supplies to the area.

"Three teams of medical staff, including surgeons, are ready to leave for Libya to help local staff in their life-saving activities," said Georgios Georgantas, the ICRC's deputy head of operations for Northern and Western Africa. "The Norwegian Red Cross, Finnish Red Cross and German Red Cross are each contributing medical personnel to these efforts. We hope that the ICRC medical teams can get into the country as soon as security conditions permit."

These medical teams are bringing enough surgical supplies and other medical items to treat up to 2,000 injured persons. Additional supplies will be made available to local medical services as needed. Hospitals in Libya reportedly lack basic drugs and other medical supplies. The Libyan Red Crescent continues to assess needs on the ground in coordination with hospitals.

The ICRC reminds all those involved that they must respect human life and dignity at all times, and that health-care personnel, vehicles and facilities must be protected and respected. The ICRC also reiterates that security forces must exercise restraint and only resort to lethal force when absolutely necessary for the protection of human life.

For further information, please contact:
Mohamed Ben Ahmed (French, Arabic), ICRC Tunis, tel: +216 98 432 393
Biljana Milosevic (English), ICRC Tunis, tel: +216 20 33 62 38
Steven Anderson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 20 11 or +41 79 536 92 50