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Ivory Coast Conflict Displaces Nearly Two Million

Ivory Coast Conflict Displaces Nearly Two Million
Ivory Coast Conflict Displaces Nearly Two Million

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Joe DeCapua

Despite the capture of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, the humanitarian situation in the country continues to deteriorate.

The International Organization for Migration [IOM] has appealed for more than $41 million to provide aid to displaced people.

Fighting not yet over

“Our understanding is that the situation is not yet resolved in Ivory Coast, even with the capture of Laurent Gbagbo. And this is having an immense impact on the humanitarian assistance, humanitarian aid, in the whole of the country,” said IOM spokesman Jumbe Omari Jumbe.

It’s estimated that out of a population of five million in Abidjan, the commercial capital, one million are displaced. “So, it is a horrendous humanitarian issue,” he said.

Much is needed everywhere

“There is a shortage of relief items, like food, water, medicine, even shelter. There is fear that this could lead to an early outbreak of waterborne diseases, such as cholera and diarrhea. In fact, there are reports of an outbreak of cholera in some parts of Cote d’Ivoire. And we fear that this may happen also to Abidjan,” he said.

In the western part of the country, the IOM, UNHCR and others have registered about 27,000 displaced people who had sought shelter at a Catholic mission in Duekoue. There are reports of many more internally displaced people, known as IDPs, seeking shelter with relatives or in the bush.

“At the moment,” said Jumbe, “there are efforts to send an assessment team to see exactly how many people are displaced and register the number. We believe that over 800,000 people may be displaced in the west.”

In addition to…

“That is on top of the one million displaced in Abidjan, on top of almost 200,000 stranded migrants from Burkina Faso, from Ghana, from Guinea [and] Mali. And on top of 150,000 who have already entered Liberia. So it is an immense humanitarian catastrophe,” he said.

The $41.6 million in the appeal for funds would cover many relief operations.

“The IOM, as a lead agency for camp coordination and management, will use this money, together with the UNHCR and other partners, to identify and register an estimated one million people who are displaced,” he said, adding, “We’ll use this money to assess their needs and ensure that camps and other sites where the IDPs are sheltering are safe and that all residents have access to enough food, enough water and shelter.”

The appeal would also fund the evacuation of thousands of migrants, which came to a halt when violence spread in Abidjan.

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