May 27, 2011 / 12:22 PM / 8 years ago

Misrata fighting killed estimated 12 a day: WHO

A rebel fighter takes a position during a battle against forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi along the western front line near Misrata May 27, 2011. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

GENEVA (Reuters) - Fighting in Misrata killed an estimated 12 people a day and wounded about 70 in the Libyan city’s six operating hospitals, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

The number killed or injured has decreased significantly over the past week as fighting has eased, the WHO said, but said the health situation remained critical.

A Reuters reporter in Misrata said rebels and forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi were engaged in heavy fighting on the city’s western outskirts on Friday. [nLDE74Q0NE]

After a mission involving several U.N. agencies to Misrata, WHO media officer Tarik Jasarevic said medical records had been lost or moved during the fighting, so he could give only estimated figures.

“What our team found is that from six operating hospitals, there were on average 12 deaths and 70 injuries per day during the fighting,” he said. “These numbers have been going down in the last week.”

He warned further deaths could be caused by a lack of specialist medical staff and drugs, including antibiotics, which raises the threat of drug-resistant infection, especially in intensive care units.

Misrata is the biggest rebel stronghold in the west of the country and has been the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in Libya’s three-month-old conflict.

Rebels have pushed Gaddafi’s forces out of the center of the city but are still attacking from positions on the outskirts.

Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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