Libya: MSF efforts continue

March 8, 2011

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Libya: MSF efforts continue © Matthieu Le Grelle

Since the first MSF team was able to cross the Egyptian border into Libya on 24 February, MSF has delivered 22 tons of medical equipment and supplies to Benghazi, including drugs, burn kits, dressings, sutures, and external fixators to the Benghazi central pharmacy. An operating-theatre nurse is currently working in the surgery ward of the Ajdabiya hospital, assisting the hospital's medical personnel, who requested MSF's support after new clashes west of Ras La Nuf generated a new wave of wounded.

Meanwhile, the team has been assessing the situation in various medical facilities in Benghazi and in a number of localities in eastern Libya, as well as donating medical supplies.

In Benghazi, medical facilities had to cope with more than 1800 wounded patients in just five days of violence in February. On 3 March, the team visited the hospital of the town of Ajdabiya, some 160 kilometres from Benghazi, near Brega, where fighting has taken place. The MSF team continues to try and access Brega and other areas further into Libya but insecurity and fighting continue to make such assessments impossible.

Access to areas further west is still extremely difficult, while medical doctors in a number of locations have requested MSF's support. MSF is working on delivering more drugs and supplies, by road or by boat.

Meanwhile, an MSF team has been deployed at the Tunisia-Libya border since 23 February, ready to send medical staff and supplies as soon as the border opens. Approximately 94,000 people have fled Libya through the border with Tunisia over recent days. Since 3 March, the flow of people crossing the border has declined, from 8,000 to 14,000 people per day to around 2,500 people per day, on average.

While most of the migrants’ needs are being met, MSF launched on 4 March a mental health care programme, as many of these people have either witnessed or suffered various forms of violence whilst in Libya, and face great uncertainty for their immediate future.

MSF is monitoring the situation and is prepared to provide medical-humanitarian assistance at the border. Wounded people are reportedly not allowed out of Libya and very few cases of wounded people crossing the Tunisian border have been reported, while medical teams and supplies are blocked on the Tunisian side of the border. MSF is currently looking at all ways to send donation of drugs and medical supplies to meet the needs expressed by medical staff inside western Libya.

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