News / Africa

Displaced in Ivory Coast Need More Shelter

This mother and her child found refuge at the Catholic Mission in Duékoué after fleeing their home in January
This mother and her child found refuge at the Catholic Mission in Duékoué after fleeing their home in January

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Schlein

The United Nations refugee agency says it has begun work on a new camp for internally displaced people in western Ivory Coast. The UNHCR says it expects the current shortage of shelter for thousands of uprooted people to get worse as their numbers continue to increase.

So far, the UN refugee agency has registered 38,600 uprooted individuals in western Ivory Coast. The UNHCR says there are not enough places to house all these people and humanitarian conditions are deteriorating.

The new camp, which is located near Duekoue town, will accommodate up to 6,000 people. The UNHCR says this will relieve crowding at a nearby Catholic mission where thousands of displaced are living.

UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says heavy rains last week destroyed a number of makeshift shelters in the mission compound. She says the agency has provided tents to some of the affected families. But, this is only a stopgap measure.   

“Right now, we are building one camp,” Fleming said. “It is rather difficult for us – also, given the tension, the political environment and also the difficulties for, particularly, U.N. organizations to operate. This is the first site we have been able to identify and to be able to clear. That said we are, unfortunately, in anticipation that there is going to be further displacement and continued displacement. We are looking for other sites for new camps.”  

Most of the displaced in western Ivory Coast fled their homes in mid-December and early January as a result of ethnic tension and violence. This followed the disputed presidential election in November, which has still not been resolved.

The incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, refuses to give up his seat to the United Nations- recognized winner, Alassane Ouattara. This has ushered in a period of fear and instability, which has displaced tens of thousands of people inside Ivory Coast and prompted more than 36,300 Ivorians to flee to neighboring Liberia.

Fleming says some of the displaced people say they cannot return to their homes because they have been burned down and their possessions looted. Others report physical and sexual violence, as well as arbitrary detention by armed groups acting with impunity.

“Civilians do remain traumatized by the recent troubles, which many see as reminiscent of the civil conflict in 2002,” she added. “And, they remember that very well. As a result, many families who we speak to say that they have left their homes in anticipation of a possible attack. They tell us they fear becoming trapped in case of renewed war and will only consider returning to their homes once the political deadlock is resolved and their security is assured.”  

Fleming says the political deadlock is causing widespread fear. She warns failure to resolve this standoff could trigger displacement on a massive scale.

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