Libya: sanctions' toll
Hundreds of Libyans have died as a result of the air embargo imposed on the country by the UN Security Council.
The fatalities include 150 adults and children, as well as 100 infants who required medical treatment not available in Libyan hospitals.
The Libyan news agency, JANA, on August 18 reported that this information was contained in a letter written by foreign minister Ibrahim al-Bishari to UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali.
Al-Bishari adds that there are at the present time 2445 patients in need of specialised treatment abroad who are unable to receive it.
Since the sanctions were put into effect on April 15, Libya has faced major difficulties in trying to maintain the standards of its health care system, which had been generally acknowledged to be among the best in the Third World.
The sanctions have made it impossible to fly in vaccines and fast-expiring drugs. Since the imposition of the UN embargo, tens of babies have died for lack of the measles vaccine.
Prior to the sanctions, the neonatal mortality rate was 26 per 1000. Now it has risen to over 60 per 1000.
Dr Abdel-Meguid Abu-Rawy, a neonatal specialist at Tripoli's el-Galaa Children's Hospital, commented recently, "Because of the air embargo, we are really in trouble ... The UN is imposing a death sentence on children."
[Adapted from a report on Pegasus by Ingrid Solem.]