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Libya: Hostilities continue to disrupt health services

14 Apr 2020

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Health care services have been disrupted by insecurity affecting the country's focus on COVID-19. Credit: OCHA/Eve Sabbagh

Escalating hostilities in western Tripoli continue to disrupt critical health services at a time when the country needs to focus on combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 13 April, four hospitals in Tripoli, providing an average of 18,000 medical consultations every week, suspended their operations due to insecurity. Three ambulances and four transport cars were also seized at the Sabratha hospital and another 51 primary health care centres and private clinics in Sabratha, Surman and Al Ajaylat have stopped their services.

Libya has reported 25 COVID-19 cases and one death and is at high risk of further spread due to the protracted conflict, ongoing insecurity and a weak health system.

At least nine conflict-related incidents have been recorded in 2020 affecting field hospitals, health care workers, ambulances and medical supplies, during which five people have been killed and 12 injured.  If Libya is to have any chance against COVID-19, the ongoing conflict must come to an immediate halt.

Humanitarian partners continue to call on all parties to abide by their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and to safeguard health care from attacks.  Following a week-long water cut affecting more than 2 million people, water is now gradually returning to Tripoli and other parts of the western region.