As the fighting continues in Ivory Coast, more refugees are being put in harm’s way. The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, says, “It has become imperative” that the seventy thousand refugees in the country be moved to safer locations.
Delphine Marie is a spokeswoman for the UNHCR. From Geneva, she told English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua that the agency’s top priority is the safety of refugees in the Nicla camp in western Ivory Coast.
The UNHCR is trying to evacuate some five thousand “terrified” Liberian refugees in Nicla, who are only a few kilometers from the fighting. However, plans to do so received a setback when residents of Grand Lahou, an Atlantic coast town west of Abidjan, rejected relocation plans. Ms. Marie says residents were concerned about security.
The seventy thousand refugees within Ivory Coast, most of them Liberian, are scattered throughout the country, making relocation efforts very difficult. She says so far, the UN agency has been unsuccessful in getting permission of neighboring countries to allow refugees to be relocated there.
Click the above links to download or listen to interview with Delphine Marie.