The Sirte hospital was hit various times in the NATO and NTC (National Transitional Council) forces bombings on the city, still under control of loyalists of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) told MISNA.
“The humanitarian situation is dramatic. The walls of the hospital are charred by blasts and riddled with bullets,” said Steven Anderson, who on Monday coordinated an ICRC mission to deliver oxygen and essential medical supplied to the Ibn Sina Hospital.
ICRC workers were not able to deliver supplies last week due to the bombings and clashes.
The success of this last mission is very important, stressed Anderson, “because the oxygen allows to operate patients with critical gunshot wounds in an acceptable manner”.
It is also a humanitarian emergency for the thousands of people that in the past weeks fled the city, situated along the Mediterranean sea midway to Tripoli and Bengazi. Together with the Red Crescent, the ICRC is distributing food and water to thousands of people camped west and east of Sirte.
Representatives of the NTC, the political body of the anti-Gaddafi forces that now control most of Libya, yesterday announced a final offensive to seize Sirte. In this city of around 130,000 residents, Gaddafi loyalists continue to resist like in Bani Walid, a city at the doors of the Sahara desert, where according to MISNA sources the bombings also hit the local hospital.
“The conflicting sides and NATO forces must respect international humanitarian law, protecting civilians and guaranteeing access to medical and humanitarian personnel,” added Anderson.
About the author: MISNA
MISNA, or the Missionary International Service News Agency, provides daily news ‘from, about and for’ the 'world’s Souths', not just in the geographical sense, since December 1997.