Bodies Clogging Tripoli Spark Disease Fears

Decay and summer heat threatens to unleash health disaster
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2011 7:37 AM CDT
Bodies Clogging Tripoli Spark Disease Fears
TRIPOLI, LIBYA - AUGUST 27: The bodies of a men, believed to be detainees of pro-Gaddafi loyalists, lay near to a warehouse where burnt bodies were discovered on August 27, 2011 in Tripoli, Libya. Up to 150 people were found dead, 53 bodies were burnt in a warehouse in the last few days. The victims...   (Getty Images)

As fighting continues in Tripoli for the future of Libya, bodies are piling up in the streets—from combat, reprisals, and innocents just caught in the crossfire. And as the corpses decompose in the summer heat, they are becoming such a health risk that removing the bodies has become the interim government's top priority, writes the Independent. "We have started immediate action on moving these dead people," says a member of the Tripoli council. "There are other shortages and we do not want illnesses to start."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for urgent humanitarian assistance, but months of sanctions mean Tripoli is empty of supplies and fuel. "We are trying to get in supplies of medicine as quickly as possible," said a spokesman for the National Transitional Council. "But there are remnants of the regime still around and this makes difficulties for our work." Even for those with money, few stores are open. And black Africans, even those with Libyan citizenship, often find themselves subjected to racism. "They say Gadhafi brought you here, let him look after you. I have eight boys and girls," said one woman. "How am I supposed to feed them?" (Read more Libya stories.)

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