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WHO condemns attacks on multiple health facilities in Benghazi, Libya

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26 June 2016, Tunis, Tunisia – The World Health Organization condemns recent attacks on 2 health facilities in Benghazi. Libya. On 21 June, a rocket hit the roof of the Ear, Nose and Throat and Urological Centre, directly above the operating theatres, causing damage to the roof, all oxygen supply pipes, and the central ventilation. The roof had been reconstructed in 2014 following damages sustained during the 2011 conflict in Libya.

The centre has a capacity for 300 inpatients, and more than 470 people were in the centre at the time of the attack. Due to damage as a result of the attack, the operating theatres are now non-functional, and patients have been relocated to nearby health facilities. 

On 22 June, the administration building of Benghazi Medical Centre was extensively damaged when a car exploded in the north parking area. No casualties were reported. Just 3 weeks ago, the Benghazi Medical Centre had sustained extensive damage to its infrastructure following multiple attacks. The centre, which has 1100 beds, serves a population of half a million people in Benghazi and is the only facility offering tertiary health care services in Benghazi. 

These attacks violate international humanitarian law, representing a serious setback for the affected community and an additional challenge to humanitarian work in Libya. It is estimated that nearly 60% of public hospitals in conflict areas in Libya have shut down or are inaccessible.

Such attacks on health facilities in Libya are not only continuing but also increasing in both frequency and scale. This is unacceptable. WHO once again urges all parties in the conflict to respect the safety and neutrality of health workers and health facilities. 

For more information: 

Rana Sidani
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