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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora