Libya: EMERGENCY Suspends Gernada Operations

It is with great regret that EMERGENCY must announce the suspension of activities at the Gernada Surgical Centre in eastern Libya. Over the past few weeks, EMERGENCY has been present during serious episodes of violence by local police forces inside our hospital in Gernada, eastern Libya. EMERGENCY has, in agreement with the Libyan Ministry of Health, paused its clinical activities in this region, while offering intervention in other parts of the country. This was a difficult decision, taken at a moment of great uncertainty as to how the country is moving forward. However, despite reassurances from the local authorities, the basic conditions needed to guarantee patient and staff safety were not provided. Emanuele Nannini, Deputy Coordinator of EMERGENCY’s Humanitarian Office, stated: “Having been present during repeated acts of violence by the local police, towards even our own Libyan personnel, we have decided to suspend the hospital’s activities. We were not able to postpone this decision any longer. We are more worried about the local population – the Libyan health care system has collapsed and once again, it will be civilians who suffer the consequences of the chaos into which Libya has sunk since 2011.” EMERGENCY had opened its Surgical Centre in Gernada on October 12th 2015 to treat people wounded in combat in the Benghazi and Derna areas. Since then, our doctors and nurses have treated 1,400 people at the facility. We were also busy training local staff in the management of war wounded. With our departure, the local staff and the hospital – which have been entirely refurbished and comprehensively equipped – remain available to Libyan health authorities. Together with the Libyan Ministry of Health, EMERGENCY is evaluating various options concerning how we may provide surgical support to victims of war as soon as possible in a different location.