04 April 2011
Severely wounded patients were successfully evacuated by boat from Misrata, Libya, as on-going violence overwhelmed local medical facilities.
“We managed to dock at Misrata on Sunday afternoon, despite intense fighting in the city over the past few days,” said Helmy Mekaoui, an MSF doctor who coordinated the medical evacuation.
“The violence caused an influx of wounded people and it was fortunate we could be there and get them on board."
Among the 71 evacuated patients were three people on life support, 11 people suffering from major trauma and many others with abdominal wounds and open fractures. Intensive medical care was provided on board as the boat sailed to Tunisia.
The hospital in Misrata had reportedly been bombarded early Sunday morning, while the remaining functioning clinics are overflowing with severely injured patients and are desperately running short of medical supplies.
In Misrata, six tons of emergency medical materials—including 300 surgical kits to perform 1000 surgical operations, drugs, sterilization materials, and intravenous fluids—were donated to the Libyan Health Committee, to help health facilities in the city cope with the influx of war-wounded people.
The boat arrived early today at the port-city of Sfax, Tunisia, and the patients were transferred to hospitals to receive urgent medical care.
The MSF medical team on board was composed of seven doctors, three nurses, and one psychologist, including seven Tunisian medical personnel who volunteered to be part of the operation.
On arrival in Sfax, the Tunisian health authorities organised the transfer of the patients to a dozen medical facilities.
Thanks to their support, as well as the efforts of the medical staff in Misrata who risked their safety, the evacuation and medical treatment of the patients was made possible.Casualties evacuated by boat from Libya
Find out more about MSF's work in Libya.