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
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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid