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  • » 10/03/2011, 00.00

    LIBYA

    Mgr Martinelli makes plea as risk of humanitarian catastrophe looms in Sirte



    Libyan hospitals are on the brink of collapse. People are dying for the lack of oxygen tanks and ongoing blackouts. More than 10,000 people have fled Sirte and Bani Walid, the last strongholds of the old regime. Tripoli bishop calls on foreign nations to take in thousands of the wounded.
    Tripoli (AsiaNews) – “The situation in Sirte is dreadful. The evacuation of civilians by members of the National Transitional Council is difficult because of fighting with Gaddafi’s men. A truce is necessary,” said Mgr Martinelli, apostolic vicar to Tripoli. Speaking to AsiaNews, the prelate stressed the risk of a humanitarian catastrophe, and made a plea to the international community: “Foreign nations, especially in Europe, should take in the wounded and the injured for treatment and care. Libya’s health facilities are doing their best, but they are not enough.”

    So far, some 10,000 people have fled Sirte, the last stronghold of Libya’s former leader, along with Bani Walid and Sabha. At least a third of the refugees has set up camps in the desert a few kilometres from the city so as to remain close to their homes.

    Refugees describe a situation of utter chaos with hundreds of bodies lying in the streets with houses in ruin or burning.

    Many accuse NATO and the rebels of striking at random without concern for possible civilian casualties.

    According to the Red Cross, hospitals in Sirte are no longer functioning. The wounded and injured have to go to Tripoli and Misratah, but even there facilities are running out drugs and people are dying for lack of oxygen tanks and ongoing blackouts.

    “It won’t be easy to bring peace speedily,” Mgr Martinelli noted. “Gaddafi is not defeated yet, and there are constant vendettas among families and tribes.”

    Still, the prelate is confident that the ongoing changes will bear fruit, urging everyone to pray for the Libyan people.
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    See also

    21/10/2011 LIBYA
    Gaddafi’s body in cold storage in Misratah
    The late strongman will be buried in a secret place to avoid turning his grave into a place of pilgrimage for his diehard supporters. His wife calls on the United Nations to open an investigation into his death. Civil war now looms as Tripoli and Benghazi, secularists and Islamists, vie for power.

    07/04/2011 LIBYA – PHILIPPINES
    Filipino nurses and Christian witnesses for Gaddafi and rebels, says Mgr Martinelli
    Despite the war, more than 3,000 Filipino doctors and health care workers continue to work in the country’s various hospitals. The apostolic vicar of Tripoli stresses the solidity of the Catholic community in Libya. In the capital, about 200 Filipino sub-Saharan African Catholics attend weekend Masses.

    20/09/2011 LIBYA
    Mgr Martinelli: Libyans full of optimism and a desire to start over
    Back in Libya, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli describes the euphoria that has swept the Libyan capital after it was liberated by the rebels. The city’s Catholic community re-emerges after months of airstrikes. Fierce fighting between rebels and loyalists continues in Sirte, Bani Walid and Sebha, Gaddafi’s last strongholds.

    12/09/2011 LIBYA
    Gaddafi’s “footballing” son, Saadi, takes refuge in Niger
    Niamey gave permission "for humanitarian reasons." The whereabouts of the Colonel and two other sons, Saif al-Islam and Mutassim, engaged in the war unknown. Fighting continues in Bani Walid, as NTC forces approach Sirte.

    06/09/2011 LIBYA
    Libya surrenders Bani Walid. Gaddafi maybe in Niger
    The NTC has reaches a deal to enter the city in the hands of loyalists without a fight. A convoy of over two hundred military vehicles passes into Agadez in northern Niger overnight. Persistent rumours indicate Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam on board.



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