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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid