Babylon & Beyond

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LIBYA: Doctors Without Borders demands access to violence-wracked regions

March 2, 2011 |  1:59 pm

The International medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders is demanding that all parties involved in the Libyan conflict grant the group access to strife-torn areas so that it can provide aid and distribute much-needed supplies.

In a statement issued Wednesday, officials from the group said members of their team in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi had received a plea for help from a doctor in the western city of Misurata, where clashes have reportedly left many people wounded.

But Misurata, like other regions in the west, has so far been inaccessible to aid workers because of a lack of security, officials for the aid organization said.  

"The doctor is asking us for drugs and medical supplies to treat wounded people," Anne Chatelain, Doctors Without Borders' medical coordinator in Benghazi, said in a written statement. "But we cannot deliver the supplies. The road to Misurata has been blocked by armed men who are stopping traffic."

The organization said that its teams at the Tunisian-Libyan border had also been barred from entering Libya.

There were reports of many wounded people in Tripoli who are in need of treatment but are afraid to go to public hospitals for fear of reprisals from pro-government militias, the officials from the group said. Some volunteer doctors were known to be helping the injured in private locations, they added.

"But they are appealing to us for drugs -- including pain medication -- and surgical equipment to ensure treatment of the injured," Rosa Crestani, an emergency coordinator for the group, said in a statement. "For the moment, this is impossible."

-- Ann M. Simmons