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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid