US$ 11.1-million health and nutrition response launched for Libya

7 March 2011 | GENEVA — During the next three months WHO and its partners urgently need US$ 11.1 million to provide health care and to meet the nutritional needs of persons affected by civil unrest in Libya.

This amount is part of the US$ 160 million Regional Flash Appeal for the Libya crisis, launched by the United Nations today in Geneva.

The number of war wounded people is estimated at 5000 and 2 million are in need of basic health care. Currently there is a shortage of surgical supplies, burn dressings and blood transfusion bags.

‘Surgical needs are critically important, especially inside Libya as a significant percentage of those caught up in the conflict will continue to suffer from penetrating injuries from gun shots and shrapnel, requiring surgery, blood transfusion and other intensive treatment’ said Dr. Eric Laroche, Assistant Director-General of Health Action in Crises of the World Health Organization who has just returned from a mission to assess health needs at the Tunisia-Libya border.

The United Nations estimates that more than 203 000 – mainly foreign workers – have crossed the borders into Egypt, Tunisia and Niger. As thousands of people are still located on the both sides of the Tunisia-Libya border, humanitarian efforts are focused on providing access to adequate food, shelter, sanitation, and health care services.

Health and nutrition priorities

The health and nutrition partners have identified the following main priorities for the coming weeks:

  • Support triage, injury, trauma care and medical evacuation,
  • Support basic health services in the affected areas
  • Establishment of an early warning and response system for epidemic prone diseases
  • Coordination of the humanitarian health response
  • Emergency nutrition rapid response

Health response to-date

WHO teams at both borders are coordinating efforts with all health humanitarian partners, monitoring the public health situation and supporting disease surveillance.

WHO has provided medical supplies and equipment for eastern Libya to cover 1000 patients for ten days and surgical kits to treat patients with injuries.

Another shipment of trauma supplies and Emergency Health Kits to meet the needs of 50 000 people is being shipped to the new humanitarian logistics hub in Djerba, Tunisia. The material will be pre-positioned for use in Libya once access is established. The health partners that are part of the Flash Appeal are: Handicap International Federation (HI), International Medical Corps (IMC), IOM, Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), Save the Children (SC), UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Tarik Jasarevic
Media and Advocacy Officer
Health Action in Crises
WHO, Geneva
Mobile: +41 793 676 214
E-mail: jasarevict@who.int

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