Creating people's geographies
BBC 8 August 2006
Lebanese hospitals are desperate for fuel, the WHO says
Almost two thirds of hospitals in Lebanon could “cease to function” this week because of fuel shortages, the World Health Organization has warned. Other health facilities could also be affected, unless fuel is allowed through as a priority, the WHO said.
Damage to infrastructure in the ongoing conflict has left them relying on fuel to run generators, the WHO said.
The WHO says power is needed to operate services including theatres, babies’ incubators and fridges for vaccines.
We urge all parties to ensure safe passage of fuel supplies to hospitals
Dr Ala Alwan, WHO
Lebanon has 12,000 hospital beds. The WHO estimates that about 80 litres of fuel is needed per bed each week for electric power.
Up until now, fuel deliveries have been severely hampered because of the ongoing military operations.
The WHO says one hospital in Marjayoun, in south Lebanon, has said it is due to run out of fuel by Wednesday.
‘Fuel is key’
Dr Ala Alwan, a spokesman for the WHO Director-General for Health Action in Crises, said: “Based on available information, if there is no fuel delivered in the next few days, more than half of the hospitals will not be able to operate by the end of this week and the situation will be much worse next week.
“Fuel is key in any basic infrastructure. The provision of fuel is a matter of life or death in a hospital setting.
“We urge all parties to ensure safe passage of fuel supplies to hospitals.”
The WHO says it has fuel shipments are ready to be sent to Lebanon as soon as the security situation allows.
Fuel tanks are also ready to be sent from Beirut to other areas in Lebanon in convoys, provided security is ensured, the WHO has said.