MOGADISHU, July 14 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned the latest attack on a health facility in a disputed city in Somalia's Somaliland region, where dozens of people were killed and injured, including healthcare workers and patients.
The WHO said that Tuesday's fighting in Las Anod also resulted in the destruction of two ambulances.
"In situations where healthcare systems are already fragile, attacks on health care have devastating consequences going beyond the loss of lives of health workers and the patients they might have saved," said Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO representative for Somalia, in a statement issued Thursday evening in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
According to the WHO, this is the fifth time that the facility has been hit since the violence in Las Anod erupted last year.
Malik said thousands of people will die every year not because they are direct victims but because the healthcare facilities become dysfunctional, and the environment becomes too dangerous for effective health care to be delivered.
"I, therefore, appeal to all to protect healthcare facilities and health workers, and ensure access to health care for everyone irrespective of their involvement in the conflict," he said.
The UN health agency extended its sincere condolences to the families of those healthcare workers who have been killed and injured in this attack.
Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean, urged all parties in conflict to respect the neutrality of health care and the obligations of the health community to the duty of care. ■