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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid