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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid