News / Africa

Ivory Coast Displaced to Get Emergency Food and Water Supplies

Unidentified troops drive past in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, April 1, 2011
Unidentified troops drive past in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, April 1, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

Humanitarian agencies are rushing to help thousands of displaced people in Ivory Coast who are in urgent need of assistance. Tens of thousands, for example, have crowded around a Catholic mission in the western town of Duekoue. Too many for what little food and water are available.

Jean-Philippe Chauzy, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, said, “Currently, IOM has deployed in Duekoue, alongside Caritas, colleagues from UNHCR and the World Food Program, and what we’re doing at the moment is carrying out the very first registration of the displaced. Obviously, the needs are enormous. Access to potable water remains very difficult and also to latrines. Obviously, action will be taken to and prevent the spread of diarrheal diseases.”

Decongest

The IOM and its partners want to “decongest” the Catholic mission.

“The number of displaced people in Duekoue, including mostly in the Catholic mission, is still estimated to be in excess of 20 to 25,000 people,” he said,” adding, “We’re trying to identify a site in Duekoue where we could basically settle those displaced.”

There’s also word of hundreds of other displaced people seeking shelter at a Protestant center in Duekoue. “There again,” said Chauzy, “they need everything in terms of food, medical assistance, access to water, etc.”

Distribution of humanitarian assistance in Duekoue is expected with 24 hours.

On the road

Thousands of displaced people were also reported on the road between Duekoue and Guiglo.

“What we do know as of yesterday, Sunday, was that about 370 of those displaced people managed to get to another mission somewhere on the road between Duekoue and Guiglo. This is a mission that is being run by some Capuchin priests. The information that we’re getting from that particular congregation is that there’s an urgent need for assistance. As for the remaining 3,000 plus people, we have no specific information,” he said.

Aid agencies are still unable to access the road taken by the displaced and so cannot provide an update on their whereabouts or condition.

Chauzy said, “It’s a fair bet people have dispersed in the surroundings of the road. We need to try and organize an evaluation mission on that particular road.”

Mass killing

Over the weekend, the International Federation of the Red Cross said about 800 civilians had been killed in one section of Duekoue. Forces loyal to U.N. backed president-elect Alassane Ouattara took over the area last week, but they deny being responsible for the deaths.

“Developments in the neighborhood of Carrefour still represent a challenge. An investigation is ongoing from my understanding. I think the U.N. is basically now deploying personnel in that particular district. But for the moment our attention is focused on providing assistance to those displaced by the events in Duekoue and hopefully very soon in the neighboring town of Guiglo,” said Chauzy.

As for Abidjan……

The IOM said it’s been unable to evacuate foreign nationals from Abidjan, many of whom are in hiding.

“Quite literally, everyday we’re hearing about various groups…migrant workers that are stranded in the economic capital,” he said.

For example, 2,000 Malian nationals are reported encamped around the Malian embassy.

“They have received absolutely no assistance now for the past week. No food, for instance. These were people who until about a week ago were able to get out of the embassy and go and buy food in the surrounding neighborhood,” he said, “Because of the fear of attacks, those Malian nationals are basically hunkered up in the embassy,” he said.

There are also hundreds of Mauritanians who are stranded at their country’s embassy.

Chauzy said, “It’s very difficult for us, obviously, under current circumstances, to operate an evacuation program. What we are trying to do obviously, security permitting, is at least bring some assistance to those migrant workers.”

The IOM estimates there are more than 50,000 migrant workers in Abidjan, who need to be evacuated.

Across the Border

Most Ivoirians who’ve left the country have gone to Liberia. And they continue to do so.

“Despite the borders being closed, there are still quite a lot of people fleeing Ivory Coast to Liberia,” said Astrid Sletten of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

“The borders between Liberia and Ivory Coast are so porous and the Liberian authorities are not denying access for Ivoirians, so people are still coming,” she said.

Most are no longer crossing into Nimba County, but the southeastern counties of Grand Gedeh and River Gee. There are reports that some refugees, Ouattara supporters in Nimba County, were returning home, believing it is safe to do so.

Sletten said before the weekend, the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, had registered more than 125,000 refugees crossing in from Ivory Coast.

When refugees began arriving in Nimba County last December, it was during the harvest season. As a result, host families were able to help feed them. It’s different in Grand Gedeh and River Gee Counties.

“If you talk to the refugees, especially in Grand Gedeh, they would say that they’re not receiving sufficient assistance because a lot of people are still waiting for food…and the transit centers are already overcrowded. But UNHCR and their partners, including NRC, are working very hard to accommodate the needs of the refugees,” she said.

Sletten says the continued flow of refugees makes it difficult for aid agencies to keep pace with the number of those in need of assistance.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs