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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid