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Entries in Misrata (4)

Wednesday
May042011

Gadhafi Forces Attack Libyan Port, International Aid Ship

MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images(MISRATA, Libya) -- Five people were killed Wednesday when forces under the command of Moammar Gadhafi attacked the Libyan port of Misrata, according to the BBC.

Misrata has been under fire for several weeks because of the fighting between anti-Gadhafi rebels and the Libyan leader's regime.  The international aid ship, Red Star One, waited several days offshore to avoid the heavy fire before arriving Wednesday with supplies. 

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has chartered the ship to bring aid to Libya and to evacuate wounded people and migrant workers trying to escape the violence.

IOM officials say that when rockets began to fall, chaos broke out, sending people running in different directions. 

Witnesses say panicked crowds of evacuees nearly swamped the ship before the Red Star One's captain pulled away from the dock, separating some families. 

The ship returned, but only for a brief moment before departing for Benghazi and leaving 200 people behind.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr212011

Two War Photographers Killed in Libya Attack

Tim Hethrington -- ABC/Rick Rowell(MISTRATA, Libya) -- Two photojournalists were killed and two others wounded during a mortar attack in Misrata, Libya Wednesday.

Among the dead were award-winning war photographer Tim Hetherington and Getty Images photographer Chris Hondros.

Hetherington, one of the best-known photojournalists, produced powerful pieces for ABC News' Nightline from the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, and for the documentary Restrepo, which won an award at the Sundance Film Festival last year.

Hetherington was embedded with the Army unit in Afghanistan when Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta put his life on the line to save his comrades.  Giunta later became the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since Vietnam.

Hondros "was a renowned and highly awarded photojournalist who covered most of the world’s major conflicts since the late 1990s, including wars in Kosovo, Angola, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Kashmir, the West Bank, Iraq and Liberia," Getty Images Co-Founder and CEO Jonathan Klein said in a statement.

Hondros' work has appeared on several magazine covers, and in 2006, he won the Robert Capa Gold Medal, the highest honor for war photography, for his work in Iraq.


Two other photographers were injured in the attack.  Guy Martin of Panos News Agency was gravely wounded, while photographer Michael Brown was less severely wounded.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr072011

Libya: Situation in Rebel City of Misrata Has US 'Very Concerned'

FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images(BENGHAZI, Libya) -- The United States is "very concerned" about the situation in Libya in and around the hard-hit city of Misrata, according to the man overseeing the American humanitarian response in Libya.

The director of USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, Mark Ward, told ABC News in his first interview since the agency's humanitarian experts first arrived in country on Tuesday that his teams had heard reports of severe casualties and shortages in the besieged city. Though the U.S. team has not left the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Ward said that they have found a "permissive" environment in eastern Libya that would allow more aid to be brought in.

The Disaster Assistance Response Team members arrived in Benghazi on Tuesday along with the U.S. liaison with the Libyan opposition, Chris Stevens. The small team of humanitarian experts has since set about determining what aid is needed and how to bring it in.

Ward would not say how many American experts were in country other than to say it was a "small" team, but suggested more could soon be on the way. Those experts already in Libya have no plans to push farther west, but are authorized to do so if they see the need.

So far, Ward said, the team has found the situation in the eastern third of Libya to be "pretty good" and he said there are few concerns about security.

Further west, where the fighting has been more intense, is another story. Ward said the U.S. is "very concerned" about the situation in and around Misrata, where forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi have bombarded rebel forces for weeks. Though aid groups are pre-positioned just outside the city they have not been able to enter, except for a few quick trips to drop off supplies, due to ongoing fighting. From those groups, Ward said, they hear the situation there is "dire."

In addition to heavy casualties, Ward says they've been told there are severe shortages of water, food, electricity, and medical supplies. He said the current strategy for NGOs is to pre-position the aid so that it can be sent in as quickly as possible if there is a lull in the fighting.

To that end, USAID has sent into eastern Libya 4-5 "health kits," which each contain medical supplies to stock a clinic capable of treating 10,000 people for three months. Each kit is about three-fourths the size of an SUV. Additionally the U.S. has provided several "trauma kits," which contain specialized supplies needed to perform 100 surgical operations.

The shortage goes beyond supplies, Ward warned. He said there are also not enough adequate medical professionals, particularly nurses. Most who were in the country when the fighting erupted were foreigners who have since fled. The U.S. has provided funds to the United Nation's World Health Organization to train personnel farther east so that they can contribute.

These American efforts are being made in close coordination with Turkey and Great Britain, as the three countries that have taken the lead in humanitarian operations so far. Ward said that Turkey, whose consulate in Benghazi has remained open throughout the crisis, has been a "terrific partner" and they've worked closely with the Turkish Red Crescent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Sunday
Apr032011

Libya: Wounded Gadhafi Opponents Headed to Turkey for Treatment

U.S. State Department(BENGHAZI, Libya) -- A Turkish ship carrying over 200 people who were injured in violence in Misrata, Libya, arrived in Benghazi Sunday to pick up more of the injured, then head out to its final destination in Turkey, where the injured will receive treatment.

The Turkish ship, Ankara, pulled into Benghazi’s port Sunday evening loaded with 230 injured Gadhafi opponents who suffered injuries during the siege of Misrata. As the ship docked some of the wounded onboard ascended to the top deck and started chanting to the crowd below, with those on land responding with a chant of “we sacrifice our blood and soul for Libya.”

On the ship there were patients suffering from various types of injuries, and with horror stories about what they experienced in Misrata. One woman told ABC News that a sniper shot her and her 14-year-old daughter, and that she lived, but her daughter died. Another wounded person burst into tears saying, “I don’t care about myself, I care about my people. I care about my children.”

The ship went to Benghazi to pick up about 100 more people before it transports the injured to Cesme in Turkey, where the wounded will be treated.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio