Libyan rebel council launches relief committee in Benghazi
Libya's rebel-run Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) launched a relief committee on Wednesday, charged with coordinating aid to more than 35,000 displaced people who have arrived in the eastern city of Benghazi from besieged areas, DPA reported.
Many of those who have arrived in the rebel stronghold have come from the city of Misurata, one of the only rebel-held cities in the west, and the eastern city of Ajdabiya, according to sources.
The ITNC's relief committee, which is to work with the Libyan Red Crescent, will initially focus on the needs of displaced people from the key oil port Brega and Ajdabiya, many of whom are living with host families in Benghazi.
A further 6,000 are being housed in university accommodation and in holiday camps along Libya's eastern coast.
The formation of the committee came as ITNC representatives were set to meet with international diplomats in the Qatari capital Doha to hash out a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Libya.
The ITNC was to be a full participant in the Libya Contact Group's meeting, two weeks after its founding and more than three weeks after an international military intervention began in the North African country.
Meanwhile, the opposition in Benghazi warned that Gaddafi's regime was preparing what could be a further devastating attack on Misurata.
Late Tuesday, the opposition said Gaddafi's forces had escalated attacks against the city, which has been under siege for over six weeks.
Although many of the seriously injured have now been transferred to medical facilities in Qatar and Italy, doctors at Benghazi's al-Hawiya hospital said there was a shortage of medical equipment and nursing staff across eastern Libya.
"We are lacking a lot of important equipment," said senior house officer Fabri al-Jroshi. "We don't have enough equipment to treat fractures sustained on the frontline, and there is a shortage of stethoscopes and other medical devices," he said.
Hundreds of Filipina nurses in Benghazi left after the conflict began, with 70 nurses absent from the al-Hawiya hospital alone, according to al-Jroshi.
With increased access to Misurata's port, growing numbers of injured people are being evacuated to Benghazi.
A vessel chartered by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) is currently on its way to the city, where it will collect hundreds of migrant workers and Libyans.