News / Africa

Hospitals Struggle to Care for Wounded in Libya Fighting

The staff copes with a constant flow of patients in and out of the Jalah Hospital in Benghazi, in eastern Libya
The staff copes with a constant flow of patients in and out of the Jalah Hospital in Benghazi, in eastern Libya

Multimedia

As fighting continues between troops loyal to Libyan leader Moammer Gadhafi and opposition forces determined to oust him, the dead and the wounded fill hospitals. VOA’s Scott Bobb recently visited the main hospital in the opposition-held city of Benghazi, in eastern Libya.

It is late morning in the intensive care unit of Benghazi’s Jalah hospital. The pace never seems to slow . The staff copes with a constant flow of patients in and out of the 200-bed facility, the largest hospital in eastern Libya.

Nurse Cora from the Philippines, who does not want to give her last name, says that at the peak of the fighting several weeks ago, this hospital received up to seven dead a day and more than 10 wounded. Many were young people who had confronted government tanks.

"No words can describe what happened. We saw dead. We saw these patients come with only half a body because of this. It’s very horrible," she said.

Abdelrahman Ahmed is lying in a bed in a ward surrounded by his family. His body is wrapped from the shoulders to the toes in white bandages.

A 15-year old student, he joined the opposition forces east of Benghazi. He was burned over 90 percent of his body when pro-Gadhafi troops threw a fire bomb into his truck.

Ahmed says he is fighting because the Gadhafi government jailed his cousin 11 years ago and refuses to release him despite three court orders to do so.

He wants to return to battle. He says since he was born he could see that Mr. Gadhafi was a tyrant. He says the Libyan leader is always killing and oppressing and, "I am no better than the people who have already died for this cause."



The spokeswoman for the Red Cross, Iman Moankar, says the Benghazi hospital staff is so professional that her group has been able to withdraw its emergency teams from here. It now provides mainly surgical kits and medicine to this facility.

But she says conditions are desperate in the opposition-held city of Misrata, 200 kilometers east of Tripoli, and several towns west of Benghazi where the fighting is intense.

"Our priority is to have access to these areas affected by the fighting where humanitarian aid and humanitarian workers are not able to have a safe access to assess and address the needs immediately," said Moankar.

The head of health services for the opposition’s fledgling administration, Dr. Jabril al-Howeidi, says his hospitals can handle primary care, but not major injuries - bone fractures, head wounds and spinal injuries. He says they are receiving adequate medical supplies from international donors for now.

"Our medical supply, in general, it’s OK. But if this situation stays [persists] for more than one month, then we’ll be in crisis," he said.

In addition to the war wounded, the hospitals’ overworked staff must also deal with heart attacks, car accidents and other everyday cases.

Back in the ward, 26-year-old mechanic Awad Ajela also is covered in bandages. He was wounded in the same car bombing as Abdelrahman Ahmed.

He kisses a flag, independent Libya’s first flag that the opposition has adopted. He asks for it to be spread over him. He is desperate to get well so he can rejoin the resistance.

He says he is prepared to be burned three or four times again, and shed his last drop of blood, to get rid of Gadhafi.

Ajela and his friends are being transferred to a special burns hospital in Egypt. But their beds will soon be filled by new patients who arrive daily from the Libyan battle fields.

You May Like

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs