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

James Brooke

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.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid