Libya: Concerns mount as medical services suffer effects of fighting in Benghazi

News Release June 3, 2014

Tripoli/Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Libyan Red Crescent are concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the armed violence in Benghazi.

"Dozens of people have died or been injured since the violence broke out," said Dr Osama Azzam, the head of the health and first-aid department of the Libyan Red Crescent. "An ambulance was destroyed and its driver killed in a targeted attack. One of our hospitals came under attack and was badly damaged, which resulted in its closure. It is increasingly dangerous to take wounded or sick people to hospital for treatment. Hospitals, clinics, ambulances, first-aid volunteers and health staff must be protected.''

The Libyan Red Crescent, with ICRC support, is striving to respond to the most acute needs in affected areas. Since the outbreak of the current fighting in Benghazi, its volunteers have been working in difficult conditions to remove the injured and the dead.

In Libya, the ICRC visits detainees and attends to the needs of families of missing persons. It also works with the Libyan Red Crescent to help victims of the violence, trains Red Crescent volunteers to raise awareness of the dangers of explosive remnants of war, and helps the Libyan Red Crescent enhance its ability to respond to humanitarian needs in times of conflict or other violence. In addition, it promotes international humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.

For further information, please contact:

Salah Uddin, ICRC Tripoli, tel: +218 91 930 7706

Muhammad Mustafa Almosrati, Libyan Red Crescent Benghazi, tel: +218 91 792 5570

Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 49 or +41 79 244 64 05