Tuesday, March 12, 2013:
Seventy-nine people have now died in Tripoli from drinking contaminated alcohol according to Colonel Mahmoud Sharif, Director of . . .[restrict]Public Security in Tripoli. He told the Libya Herald that he expected the figure to rise even higher. Victims were still turning up to hospital, he said. People were dying today who had gone to hospital on Saturday.
Six suspects had been arrested, he added. All were known to be involved in manufacturing illegal alcohol and supplies had been found when they were arrested. However, so far there were no laboratory results to see if any of them had produced the poisoned alcohol.
Although methanol is widely suspected of being the case of the mass poisoning, he said that it still had to be determined. “We still do not know what the poison is”, he stated.
Earlier today, Tuesday, Health Minister Noureddine Doghman put the figure at 60. Altogether, he said, 709 cases had been reported.
The ministry had purchased dialysis and other emergency equipment for hospitals treating the victims from local supplies, he said, but most of it had had to be bought on deferred payment because the ministry did not have the funds available to pay for them.
The ministry had, he added, set up a emergency committee to acquire and supply whatever equipment and medical were needed in dealing with the crisis. It is headed by Dr Osama Abdul Jalil.
Tripoli Medical Centre, he said, had received 338 cases, 26 had died and eight were in intensive care. At Tripoli Central Hospital, the figures were 203 cases, 19 deaths and 15 in intensive care. At Istiqlal Hospital in Tajoura, 80 cases, 4 deaths and five in intensive care. Zahra Hospital: 74 cases and eight deaths. Zawia Hospital: 14 cases and three deaths.
There was a state of emergency in all hospitals and dialysis centres, he added and ambulance staff were on overtime to ensure patients were move to dialysis centres in and around Tripoli as quickly as possible. [/restrict]