News / Africa

Health Crisis Grips Tripoli as Fighting Drags On

Rebel fighters, who were injured during fighting at Bab al-Aziziya, rest at Maitika Hospital, in Tripoli, Libya, August 27, 2011
Rebel fighters, who were injured during fighting at Bab al-Aziziya, rest at Maitika Hospital, in Tripoli, Libya, August 27, 2011

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +

Gun battles are only part of the health crisis emerging in Libya’s capital, a city of one-and-a-half million people without running water.

Central Tripoli’s Zawiya Hospital has modern equipment. It lacks basics, though, such as running water and doctors.

Dressed in a blue smock, Mohammed El Busef stops on a busy corridor to say, “We need water. There is no water here in the hospital.’’

Busef is a fifth-year medical student. But when VOA visited, he was in charge.

“Most of the doctors are working 30-40 hours [at a time]. So they are sleeping right now,” he said.

A wounded man moves along the corridor, the latest in a steady flow of victims of the fighting.

“Most of the patients are here because they are wounded by snipers. Some by explosions,” said Busef.

On one bed a rebel fighter has bandaged shrapnel wounds in his right legs. His face has taken on a yellow color, but he is expected to survive.

Two rooms away is the unrefrigerated morgue, holding five bodies.

Across the city, hundreds of bodies still lie unburied in 30-degree temperatures [celsius].

In this modern city on the Mediterranean, services like water, electricity, Internet, telephone and garbage collection are erratic or non-existent.

Mahmoud Shammam, the information minister for Libya’s Transitional National Council, responded to complaints by warning residents “not to expect miracles.”

“About the bodies of some killed people, in some areas, the health authorities are taking care of that and we hope in a few hours, with the help of lot of councils, to solve that problem,” said Shammam.

From New York, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is launching a worldwide appeal for aid to Libya.

"Most immediately, we have asked for urgent humanitarian assistance, particularly as it relates to medical aid and basic public services, including water and sanitation and education,” said Ban.

Meanwhile, back in this sweltering hospital in downtown Tripoli, there is no water to spare to mop blood off the floors.

Busef, the medical student, said, “We gained our freedom by our blood.”

Judging by ongoing gun battles, hospitals in Tripoli may struggle with additional waves of wounded fighters in coming days.


James Brooke

A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid