Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Yacoub El Hillo, following today’s attack on Al Khadra General Hospital in Tripoli
Tripoli, 6 April 2020 – At a moment when people in Libya needed nothing more than a safe home and functioning medical facilities, we received the news of yet another attack on a hospital. I am appalled to have learned that heavy shelling hit Tripoli’s Al Khadra General Hospital today, injuring at least one health worker and damaging the fully-functioning medical facility. This is a clear violation of international humanitarian law.
The repeated calls by the United Nations and the international community for a cessation of hostilities have only been met with complete disregard and intensified fighting. This is unacceptable at a time when healthcare and health workers are vital in our fight against a global pandemic. The 400-bed Al Khadra hospital was one of the potential COVID-19 assigned health facilities.
A deplorable strike like this, resulting in senseless damage of a most needed medical facility, cannot be justified. As of March 2020, a total of 27 health facilities have been damaged to varying degrees due to proximity of clashes, including 14 health facilities that have been closed and another 23 which are at risk of closure due to shifting lines of conflict. The continued disregard of the January truce, the recent call for a humanitarian pause, welcomed by both the Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army, and indeed the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global cessation of hostilities is catastrophic especially amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic. This senseless escalation must stop so that health authorities and aid agencies can respond to COVID-19 and continue reaching people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
Libyan health authorities, together with the UN and our humanitarian partners, have been racing against time to contain the spread of the virus. If Libya is to have any chance against COVID-19, the ongoing conflict must come to an immediate halt.