News / Africa

Migrant Worker Evacuations Resume in Ivory Coast

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
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 Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid