In the last few weeks, EMERGENCY has been present during serious episodes of violence on the part of local police forces inside the hospital in Gernada, in the east of Libya. EMERGENCY has, in agreement with the Libyan health ministry, paused its clinical activities in this region, while offering intervention in other parts of the country.
This was a difficult decision, above all in a moment of great uncertainty about how the country is moving forward. However, despite repeated reassurances by local authorities, in Gernada, the basic conditions were no longer fulfilled to guarantee patient or staff security.
“After having been present during repeated acts of violence by the local police, even towards our Libyan personnel, we have decided to suspend the hospital’s activities. We were not able to postpone this decision any longer, but we are more worried about the local population; the Libyan health care system has collapsed, and once again, it will be civilians who suffer the consequences of the chaos into which Libya has sunk since 2011,” says Emanuele Nannini, Deputy Coordinator of EMERGENCY’s Humanitarian Office.
EMERGENCY had opened its Surgical Centre in Gernada this past October 12, to treat people wounded in combat in the zones of Benghazi and Derna.
In 10 months at the Centre, our doctors and nurses treated 1,400 people. In this period, we were also busy training local staff in the management of war wounded. With our departure, the local staff and the hospital — which had been completely restructured and equipped — remains available to Libyan health authorities.
Together with the Libyan health ministry, EMERGENCY is evaluating various options to restart, as soon as possible, surgical support activities to the victims of war, in a different location.