News24

Scramble to evacuate Benghazi wounded

2011-03-01 21:27

Benghazi - Doctors in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi still need to send dozens of critically wounded patients for surgery abroad after deadly protests against Muammar Gaddafi, an official said Tuesday.

Benghazi hospitals have enough medical supplies to last up to a year but are still treating more than 1 000 patients wounded in the violence, said Suhail Al-Atrash, who heads health services in a municipal council formed this week.

"Health operations have resumed to almost 85% normal, and we have enough medicine to last between nine and 12 months," he said.

"But there are about 100 wounded who need surgery abroad. We succeeded in sending some to Tunisia aboard a ship," he said.

There were a total of more than 1 000 moderately or severely wounded, he said.

Some doctors have said they are running short on medicine, but Al-Atrash said relief supplies that have come from Egypt gave them at least three months supply in addition to original stocks that would last six months.

At least 250 people in Benghazi were killed in protests against Gaddafi that forced out militiamen loyal to the Libyan strongman, according to Al-Atrash.

But hospitals have been unable to provide a definitive death toll, more than a week after the city was freed by protesters, because an unknown number of corpses were missing.

"On the first day of the protests, demonstrators were mowed down in one district and witnesses said that their corpses were later gathered by Gaddafi henchmen," Al-Atrush said.

The bodies of other victims were collected by their families and buried without being taken first to hospitals, he said.