News / Africa

Dire Conditions in Libya Siege City Hospital

Families fleeing from the fighting between pro-Gaddafi and anti-Gaddafi forces drive pass Khamseen Gate, 50 km (31.1 miles) east of Sirte, October 1, 2011.
Families fleeing from the fighting between pro-Gaddafi and anti-Gaddafi forces drive pass Khamseen Gate, 50 km (31.1 miles) east of Sirte, October 1, 2011.

Residents of the besieged Libyan city of Sirte say people wounded in fighting are dying in the main local hospital because of a shortage of fuel, oxygen and other supplies.

Hundreds of residents drove out of Sirte on Sunday, fleeing weeks of fighting between provisional government forces surrounding the city and loyalists of deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Fleeing residents said gunfire, shelling and airstrikes in Sirte have made life intolerable. They said some wounded people died on the operating table of the Ibn Sina Hospital because of power cuts triggered by a lack of fuel for generators. Medics said oxygen and medicines also were running low.

Aid workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross reached the hospital on Saturday, delivering some supplies including dressing kits, body bags and 400 liters of fuel. It was not clear when they would return with more supplies.

Shelling killed three members of a family, including a child, as they fled Sirte on Saturday. Some residents blamed civilian casualties in the city on National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters and NATO airstrikes. The NTC and NATO said Gadhafi loyalists have endangered civilians by using them as human shields.

Sirte is the birthplace of Mr. Gadhafi. It is one of only two towns where Gadhafi loyalists have been resisting NTC forces that ousted him from power in the capital, Tripoli, in August.

Speaking on CBS' Face the Nation Sunday, U.S. Senator John McCain said Libyans are facing enormous challenges, including in addressing the medical needs of the tens of thousands of wounded civilians. He said the U.S. ((quote)) "should be helping," possibly by sending a U.S. medical ship to Tripoli.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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