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24.02.2012 Libya

Libya: ICRC evacuates 28 patients from Al Kufra

By International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, February 24, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today completed the evacuation of 28 sick or severely wounded people following recent violent clashes in Al Kufra, south-eastern Libya. The Libyan ministries of health and defence supported the operation by providing aircraft to transport the patients.

Early today, an ICRC team evacuated 20 people injured during violence between Tabou and Zwaii tribes to hospitals in Tripoli, along with members of their families. This follows the 22 February transfer of eight sick or wounded people in need of further medical treatment to Tripoli and Benghazi, again accompanied by members of their families.

"We came to Al Kufra at the request of both sides and of the ministry of health," said ICRC team leader Bruno Husquinet. "A number of casualties were unable to obtain medical care in safety. We provided urgent medical assistance and offered our services as a neutral intermediary. After intense discussions, all those involved agreed to allow the ICRC to evacuate the wounded and sick people: first five from the Tabou tribe and three from the Zwaii tribe, then the remaining 20 Tabou." ICRC medical personnel made sure the patients were stable enough to be transported and that they were willing to leave.

In recent days, the ICRC has delivered enough medical supplies to Al Kufra hospital for the treatment of 50 patients and has supplied six dressing kits to the field hospital in the Tabou area.

"There is less shooting now, but the situation in Al Kufra is still tense," said Mr Husquinet. The ICRC remains in the area to respond to any further humanitarian needs.

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