News / Africa

Migrant Worker Evacuations Resume in Ivory Coast

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

With Ivory Coast’s commercial capital now enjoying relative calm after weeks of violence, the evacuation of migrant workers has resumed.

The International Organization for Migration [IOM], which is in charge of the operation, says as many as 100,000 stranded migrants may need assistance throughout the country.

In Abidjan

“IOM had to suspend the humanitarian evacuation program for migrant workers or third country nationals, who were mostly residing or working in the economic capital, Abidjan, because of the violence on the streets. And happily we have resumed that evacuation program,” said IOM spokesman Jean Philippe Chauzy.

Third country nationals are people of other nationalities hired by a government or government contractor.

About 700 Malians and Mauritanians are on a nine-bus convoy that left Abidjan on Saturday. The convoy has reached the northern town of Bouake. All are expected to be in their home countries over the next two or three days.

Things are better, but…

“Obviously, the needs in Abidjan are still considerable. We still have possibly tens of thousands of migrant workers in the economic capital who want to be evacuated. But it is still a challenging operation. Security has improved, of course, but for instance it’s very difficult to find fuel. Fuel is quite expensive. It’s also quite difficult to find buses,” he said.

Jean Philippe Chauzy
Jean Philippe Chauzy

Chauzy said the number of people that will be evacuated depends on demand.

“When violence was at its peak, we knew that many, many thousands of those country nationals and migrants were hiding in their embassies. And we had a strong demand then to try and evacuate them, which we couldn’t do because of the security situation. Now, of course, things have quieted down and there might be less people now who consider leaving Cote d’Ivoire,” he said.

Some migrants and others may believe they could return to their livelihoods now that the violence has abated.

“But for the moment,” he said, “we still have, as far as we know, a strong demand for third country nationals, for migrant workers, who want to leave Cote d’Ivoire and go back to their homes in the neighboring countries.”

Traumatized

During the violence in Abidjan, hundreds of Malians and Mauritanians sought shelter at their embassies. An IOM team described the condition of the migrants as “deeply worrying.”

“We had received phone calls and reports that the people who had found refuge in their embassies were living in appalling conditions – literally crammed in the basements and the corridors of the embassies without proper access to food, to water, to medical care, because…some of these migrant workers had been wounded, it seems, by militia close to Laurent Gbagbo,” said Chauzy.

IOM was unable to bring emergency aid to the embassies while the fighting continued. And those inside the buildings were unable to get out.

“A few days ago, we did actually manage to visit those Malians and those Mauritanians,” he said. “The ordeal they went through had obviously left some scars, traumatic scars. People in some cases appeared to be suffering from post -traumatic stress. They were desperate to get out of Abidjan and to be repatriated.”

In the west…

IOM is getting regular reports from the town of Duekoue, where some 27,000 people sought shelter at a Catholic mission. IOM and other agencies have registered all the displaced there.

“The conditions in Duekoue are slightly improving because humanitarian assistance is now reaching the town. But that being said, a lot of people who are displaced do not want to go back to their homes for the time being. They’ve got a wait-and-see attitude,” he said.

Thousands of others may still be living in the bush.

“We’re also getting reports of internally displaced people that are in the border region with Liberia. We still don’t have proper access to them. So despite the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo, and the return in part of the country to normality, the humanitarian situation in western Cote d’Ivoire remains very worrisome,” said Chauzy.

IOM made an emergency appeal for over $41 million to fund its operations. So, fair it’s received less than $2 million from the U.S., U.N. and Sweden.

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs