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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid