Airstrike on Libyan hospital leaves 5 dead, say officials

A fighter loyal to the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) forces checks the ruins of a building near the the Yarmouk military compound, following airstrikes south of the Libyan capital Tripoli. (AFP)
Updated 29 July 2019

Airstrike on Libyan hospital leaves 5 dead, say officials

  • Armed groups have proliferated, and the country has emerged as a major transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty for a better life in Europe

CAIRO: Libyan health authorities say an airstrike hit a field hospital south of the capital, Tripoli, killing at least four doctors and a paramedic.
Malek Merset, a spokesman for the Health Ministry of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) says the attack took place late on Saturday in the Zawya district.
Forces based in the country’s east are currently fighting for control of the capital’s southern outskirts against militias allied with the Tripoli-based government.
Health authorities did not say which side was behind the airstrike, which wounded eight health workers.
The GNA blamed the airstrike on Libyan National Army (LNA), led by eastern commander Khalifa Haftar. The LNA could not immediately be reached for comment.
Haftar’s LNA began its offensive on Tripoli in early April. In past weeks, the battle lines have changed little.
The battle for control of the Libyan capital raged amid increased fighting over the past 24 hours, officials said on Saturday, with both sides relying heavily on airpower to make progress in the stalemated conflict.
LNA has been advancing into the city’s southern outskirts, clashing with an array of militias loosely affiliated with the GNA.
Libyan officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters, said Haftar’s LNA launched airstrikes overnight against an air base in the western city of Misrata.
The officials said the LNA also took control of the Al-Naqliyah military camp in the south of Tripoli.
They said Haftar’s forces were also fighting to cut off a major route linking Mistrata to Tripoli, which, if they succeeded, would be a major blow to the UN-supported government.
In past weeks, the battle lines have changed little, with both sides dug in and shelling one another in the southern reaches of the capital.
The LNA is the largest and best organized of the country’s many militias, and enjoys the support of Egypt, the UAE and Russia. But it has faced stiff resistance from fighters aligned with the UN-recognized government, which is aided by Turkey and Qatar.

HIGHLIGHT

Khalifa Haftar’s LNA is the largest and best organized of the country’s many militias, and enjoys the support of Egypt, the UAE and Russia.

The Libyan officials said the LNA airstrikes on the Air Force Academy in Misrata came after armed groups allied with Tripoli launched an air attack a day earlier against Al-Jufra air base, the LNA’s main forward airfield in the Tripoli offensive.
The officials also said heavy fighting was underway in Abu Salim district, about 7 kilometers (4 miles) from Tripoli’s center, and in Salah Al-Deen, an area that saw previous clashes between rival militias in September.
The LNA’s media office said in a statement that over 10 airstrikes had targeted a control room for Turkish-made drones, along with other targets in Misrata and the western coastal city of Sirte.
A spokesman for the Tripoli-based militias confirmed they had launched an air attack Friday against Al-Jufra air base.
The LNA released a statement saying its forces had taken control of the Al-Naqliyah military camp and advanced in different parts of southern Tripoli.
Fighting for the capital has emptied entire neighborhoods of civilians. Thousands of African migrants captured by Libyan forces supported by the European Union are trapped in detention centers near the front lines. An airstrike on one facility earlier this month killed more than 50 people, mainly migrants held in a hangar that collapsed on top of them.
On Saturday, Libya’s coast guard said it had intercepted 89 Europe-bound migrants in a rubber boat the previous day. The coast guard is continuing its search for the bodies of up to 150 people, including women and children, whose boats capsized Thursday in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to cross to Europe.
Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed long-ruling dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Armed groups have proliferated, and the country has emerged as a major transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty for a better life in Europe.


UN warns of severe aid cuts in Yemen without new funds soon

Updated 22 August 2019

UN warns of severe aid cuts in Yemen without new funds soon

  • Donors have pledged $2.6 billion to meet the urgent needs of more than 20 million Yemenis
  • But UN humanitarian chief Lise Grande says less than half the amount has been received so far
UNITED NATIONS: The UN humanitarian chief in Yemen warned Wednesday that unless significant new funding is received in the coming weeks, food rations for 12 million people in the war-torn country will be reduced and at least 2.5 million malnourished children will be cut off from life-saving services.
Lise Grande said the UN was forced to suspend most vaccination campaigns in May, and without new money a “staggering” 22 life-saving programs in Yemen will close in the next two months.
At a UN pledging conference in February, donors pledged $2.6 billion to meet the urgent needs of more than 20 million Yemenis, but Grande said that to date, less than half the amount has been received.
“When money doesn’t come, people die,” she said in a statement Wednesday.
The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by Iran-backed Houthi Shiite rebels who control much of the country’s north. A Saudi-led coalition that includes the United Arab Emirates allied with Yemen’s internationally recognized government has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.
The fighting in the Arab world’s poorest country has left thousands of civilians and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, leaving millions suffering from food and medical care shortages and pushing the country to the brink of famine.
UN deputy humanitarian chief Ursula Mueller told the Security Council on Tuesday that 12 million Yemenis have been assisted every month, “but much of this is about to stop” because only 34% of the UN’s $4.2 billion appeal for 2019 has been funded.
At this time last year, she said, 65% of the appeal was funded, including generous contributions from Yemen’s neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The UN humanitarian office in New York said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia and the UAE each pledged $750 million to its Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019.
Grande said the UN is grateful to donors who have lived up to their promises, and in half the districts where people were facing famine “conditions have improved to the point where families are no longer at risk of starvation.”
But she said of the 34 major UN humanitarian programs in Yemen, only three are funded for the entire year. Several have been forced to close in recent weeks, Grande said, and many large-scale projects designed to help destitute, hungry families have been unable to start.
Without new funds in the coming weeks, she said, 19 million people will also lose access to health care, including 1 million women who depend on the UN for reproductive health services. In addition, Grande said, clean water programs for 5 million people will have to shut down at the end of October and tens of thousands of displaced families may find themselves homeless.
“Millions of people in Yemen, who through no fault of their own are the victims of this conflict, depend on us to survive,” she said. “All of us are ashamed by the situation. It’s heart-breaking to look a family in the eye and say we have no money to help.”