News / Africa

    Hundreds of Thousands Displaced in Abidjan

    Residents of the popular district of Abobo, a suburb of Abidjan, flee fighting on February 25, 2011
    Residents of the popular district of Abobo, a suburb of Abidjan, flee fighting on February 25, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Joe DeCapua

    In Ivory Coast, fighting between supporters of rival presidents is spreading and the number of displaced people is growing rapidly.

    President Laurent Gbagbo has refused to step down and yield power to Alassane Ouattara. After elections in November, the U.N. certified Mr. Ouattara as the winner.

    The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR), says humanitarian organizations are finding it more difficult to reach those in need.

    Spokesman Adrian Edwards says, “What we’re seeing in Cote d’Ivoire is an increasingly frightening situation.  In Abidjan…the estimated number of displaced people is now exceeding 200,000.  And these are mostly people who fled recent fighting in Abobo district.”

    Insecurity is now spreading beyond Abobo to other neighborhoods, including the main business district of the commercial capital.

    Elsewhere

    “In the west of the country, we’re also seeing displacement problems because of insecurity there.  And we estimate that about 70,000 people are displaced in the west,” Edwards says.

    Many Ivoirians have crossed the border into Liberia.

    “Liberia ended its second civil war in 2003, so it’s a country still recovering from that period.  In the last days, we have seen a sharp rise in the number of Ivoirians coming across in the east of the country,” he says, “We have about 70,000-plus Ivoirians now in the east of the country.  It’s jungle. It’s very difficult road conditions.  Getting around, getting people help is extraordinarily difficult.”

    Shrinking access to those in need

    “The access we have as humanitarian workers is being squeezed hard, right now.  It’s very difficult to reach people.  We’re having to be creative and work with NGOs, who in some cases have better access than us, to get to people in need,” he says.

    Edwards adds, “Take the situation inside Abidjan itself.  We have concerns about people still trapped inside Abobo.  We have all these displaced people, some of them in churches, others in other communal places.  We don’t know where they all are and there’s insecurity in several parts of the city. So, it’s getting increasingly difficult to reach these people.”

    There are growing communication problems as well.  In Abobo, fighting has destroyed TV and SMS transmitters.

    Refugee and IDP camps

    “In Liberia, we have established a camp close to the town of Bahn,” says Edwards.  “And in addition to that, we have about 15 locations where we’re trying to centralize people.  But despite those efforts – and it is hard to get people to these places – we are seeing refugees moving into villages, communities.  Some of them have family there or friends.  There are about 70 to 80 villages in that border area that are hosting Ivoirians refugees at the moment,” he says.

    The UNHCR was also building a camp in western Ivory Coast.

    “We’ve had to suspend work [it] because of insecurity there.  We continue our operations, but in very difficult circumstances,” says Edwards.

    Heavy fighting is reported in the west near Duekoue and Blolequin, about 90 kilometers to the south.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells California Republican Convention delegates the campaign will be 'a battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of the June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora