News / Africa

Ivory Coast Displaced Need Food, Water, Shelter

Forces loyal to the internationally recognized Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara prepare to attack the Presidential Palace in Abidjan, April 1, 2011
Forces loyal to the internationally recognized Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara prepare to attack the Presidential Palace in Abidjan, April 1, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict in Ivory Coast, with many thousands of displaced people isolated from humanitarian aid. The International Organization for Migration [IOM] said the situation is becoming “increasingly untenable.”

IOM spokesman Jean-Philippe Chauzy said tens of thousands of displaced people are seeking shelter at a Catholic mission in Duekoue, western Ivory Coast.

“More people were being displaced and going towards this Catholic mission, towards the town of Duekoue, in search of security and protection and assistance, of course. We probably have more than 40,000 people now who are in and around this Catholic mission…. We also have information that some of the displaced have gone to a nearby U.N. camp in search of security and of assistance,” he said.

There are also reports that thousands of people had left Duekoue to walk to the town of Guiglo. However, Chauzy said they “apparently seem to be stranded en route and need some assistance. The group apparently includes some vulnerable people, including pregnant women. There again, we are desperate to be able to assist those displaced people in Duekoue and Guiglo, but…access to the region at the moment is incredibly difficult.”

The IOM is sending a team to the region to evaluate the situation. It will then work with U.N. agencies and NGOs to bring in emergency supplies.

Some good news, but not enough

“The good news yesterday (Thursday) evening was that water was available. It hadn’t been before, for at least 72 hours, simply because the electricity in the town [Duekoue] had been cut and therefore the water pumps were not functional within the Catholic mission. Now with electricity back, water pumps are operating and water, potable water, is now available, it seems, for those displaced,” he said.

But food is still in short supply.  The IOM says the displaced haven’t eaten for days. It estimates that 80,000 food rations are needed, along with kitchen sets.

“We also have information of people arriving with wounds, including bullet wounds, that deserve urgent medical treatment. And there again, the Salesian fathers, that are in the Catholic mission in Duekoue, are really launching an SOS to make sure that they can get the assistance they need,” he said.

Earlier this week, the IOM said the military offensive by forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara had helped drive the displacement. Ouattara was declared the winner by the U.N. of last November’s presidential election. But Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down voluntarily. Fighting and displacement soon followed.

“That was true earlier this week,” Chauzy said, “Now of course the western area of Cote d’Ivoire appears to be now under the total control of the pro-Ouattara forces. What might happen is that you have enclaves of resistance…probably again populations fearing skirmishes or ambushes.”

Abidjan

The International Organization for Migration has been helping foreign nationals leave the city. But insecurity has made that increasingly difficult.

“We did manage to evacuate about a thousand Mauritanian nationals, but obviously because of the security situation in Abidjan we have suspended the humanitarian evacuation program,” he said.

The evacuation route included traveling through the capital, Yamoussoukro, but the battle for the city has prevented the route from being used.

“We now have to see how the situation evolves in Abidjan. If calm returned to the capital, the need for an evacuation might decrease. On the contrary, if fighting continues or spreads to various quarters of Abidjan, with violence against foreign workers, that would probably trigger important movements of population and increase requests for evacuation assistance,” he said.

The IOM had been asked to evacuate over 50,000 stranded migrants from Ivory Coast to Mauritania, Guinea, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Mali.

The IOM spokesman adds, “We are at the moment hoping for the best case scenario, but also preparing for what could be a worst case scenario.”

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid