from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – AN outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) could have a devastating impact on Libya as rival parties fail to reach a ceasefire.
Hostilities have escalated dramatically in recent days.
This week, four civilians were killed as the Libya National Arm renewed attacks in the capital, Tripoli, after repeated calls from the international community to halt hostilities.
As a result of the ongoing conflict, Libya’s health system is severely challenged to meet the needs of all within Libya’s borders. 1.7 million people are already in extreme need of health assistance.
Since April last year, there have been 62 confirmed attacks on health facilities and almost one fifth of Libyan hospitals and primary health facilities are closed.
Those that remain open suffer from a lack of specialised medical staff and a properly functioning medical supply chain.
Only six per cent are able to offer a full range of services.
“This means that the country (Libya) is ill-prepared for an outbreak of the magnitude of COVID-19,” Tom Garofalo, International Rescue Committee Country Director for in Libya, said.
“With essential equipment already in short supply around the globe, and with Libya’s health system already so fragile, the international community must not turn its back on Libya.”
Close to 150 000 people have been forced to flee their homes over the past 11 months.
Almost 900 000 are in need of humanitarian assistance.
In addition to Libyans who have been displaced from their homes, migrants and refugees are among the most vulnerable.
Around 3 200 are being held in overcrowded detention centres.
The majority live in poor conditions in towns and cities where they are under the constant threat of robbery, abduction, detention and abuse.
– CAJ News