News / Africa

UN: Nearly Half-Million People Displaced in Ivory Coast

Residents of the Abobo district carry their belongings as they flee the neighborhood which has become a hub for street violence in the nation's ongoing political standoff, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, February 28, 2011
Residents of the Abobo district carry their belongings as they flee the neighborhood which has become a hub for street violence in the nation's ongoing political standoff, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, February 28, 2011

The United Nations refugee agency reports nearly one-half million people in Ivory Coast have fled their homes because of escalating violence.  The UNHCR says little attention is being paid to the tragedy unfolding in this West African country because of the focus on events in North Africa. 

The U.N. refugee agency says it is very concerned by the limited response it has had so far to the crisis in Ivory Coast.  It says some 370,000 people now are displaced within the country and nearly 80,000 others have fled to neighboring Liberia seeking asylum.

The UNHCR reports it has had an extremely poor response to its latest appeal for $46 million, despite the growing number of homeless people and the growing needs.

Spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says the UNHCR only has received $5 million.  She says the agency is considering launching another and bigger appeal.  She urges international donors to be more responsive to the humanitarian crisis in Ivory Coast.

"We are seeing a further degrading of the security environment in Abidjan," she said. "New clashes in the Abobo district on March 8 and the Cocody district on March 7 have resulted in reports of 30 people wounded and three deaths.  Armed checkpoints are continuing to make travel around the city dangerous, affecting the entire population."  

Fleming says the UNHCR has identified some 20 sites around Abidjan where large numbers of internally displaced people are concentrated.  She says aid workers are updating the numbers of displaced people in some locations and are still assessing their needs.  While this process is under way, she notes it is already clear people are in urgent need of food and other relief items, including medicine.

"Outside Abidjan, the violence in the west appears to be spreading to central and southeastern parts of the country," she said. "People forced to flee are reporting attempts to stop them from moving, and they are also reporting physical abuse, including rape cases.  In Liberia this week, for example, our staff spoke to a 21-year-old Ivorian refugee woman who fled with her two-year-old son after rebels beat her for resisting rape."  

Fleming says more and more refugees fleeing into Liberia are recounting gunfire along the way, sometimes forcing them to hide or sleep in the bush.

Fears are growing of a return to civil war, as the disputed presidential elections in Ivory Coast show no sign of being resolved any time soon.

In anticipation of a continuing exodus from the country, the UNHCR is preparing to meet the needs of up to 150,000 refugees.  That is nearly twice the number of refugees that already have arrived in Liberia.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid