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

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

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
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 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 ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid