1 May 2011

The battle to save the children of Misrata

Chief Correspondent

Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson visits a makeshift hospital amid the chaos of war in Misrata and witnesses the struggle of doctors trying to save young lives fatally wounded in battle.

Fighting has continued in the western city of Misrata which has been under siege for several weeks as pro-government forces battle with rebels.

Humanitarian aid shipments have been temporarily halted from accessing the city after NATO said government forces laid mines in the sea on the approach to the port – the only access into the embattled area.

As hundreds of migrant workers wait by the dockside for safe passage out of the area, fierce fighting between Colonel Gaddafi’s forces and the rebels continues.

Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson visited the makeshift hospital of Al-Hekma in Misrata where injured rebel fighters and civilians – including children – are brought in from around the city.

One, 6-year-old Ahmed, arrived with a bullet in his neck.

Another young boy, Mufta Omar, died from a bullet wound to his shoulder despite desperate attempts by doctors and nurses to save his life. He was five years old.

The battle to save the children of Misrata

“We have received a lot of injured people today,” Dr Mustafa Omar told Channel 4 News.

“It’s a bad day because we have seen a lot of kids injured and one of them is dead and we don’t know what is going to happen to the others.

“So emotionally it’s a very, very bad day. I can’t say you get used to this because you cannot get used to it. Little kids die every day.

“But we have to mange this because the injured people don’t have another place to go…We cannot leave the hospital just for an emotional feeling.

“You have to continue doing your work because these are your family and these are your people – so you have to manage.”

Reporting from Misrata, Alex Thomson said there was little respite for the doctors as the wounded people continued to file into the hospital – an air conditioned tent in a car park.

“At least 20 fighters have been killed here every day for the past five days,” Alex Thomson said. “Scores more have appalling injuries.”

For the latest from Alex Thomson in Libya visit the World News Blog.