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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid