News / Africa

Exodus Grows As Violence Escalates In Ivory Coast

Refugees, who fled the post-election instability in Ivory Coast, wait to be registered at a camp in Liberia
Refugees, who fled the post-election instability in Ivory Coast, wait to be registered at a camp in Liberia

The United Nations refugee agency reports a significant rise in the number of people fleeing the Ivory Coast as fighting escalates and more people are being killed and injured.  The UNHCR says violence is impeding its ability to assist people trapped by the conflict.

United Nations officials are expressing shock at the escalating violence in Ivory Coast, particularly in the commercial capital Abidjan.  They say this week has been the most violent since the post-election crisis began in December.

The United Nations reports at least 25 people were killed on Thursday alone in the Abobo neighborhood.  This area is a stronghold of the internationally recognized President, Alassane Ouattara.  

Fighting between Ouattara and his rival for the presidency, Laurent Gbagbo, has displaced an estimated 300,000 people in Abidjan alone.  U.N. refugee spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming, says the urban warfare in the city is causing even more people to flee their homes.

She says households hosting the displaced are seeing their resources being depleted.

“We are trying out best.  We are getting desperate calls from the people, the generous people who are hosting them, but whose food and supplies have run out.  We are trying our best to respond to their calls, but checkpoints, harassment, armed fighting are reducing ours and our partners ability to reach these people,” said Fleming.  

Fleming says people are rushing to get out of harm’s way.  She says ongoing fighting in the West, along the Liberian border is forcing more civilians to flee across the border.  She says the number of Ivorian refugees in Liberia is rapidly growing and currently stands at 90,000.  But, she adds that number could soon reach the 100,000 mark.

As violence escalates in Ivory Coast, Fleming says the UNHCR is seeing a new trend emerge. “The numbers have been very small in the other countries, but now the numbers in neighboring Ghana are growing.  It is still 500 people.  But, it is only 150…kilometers from Abidjan.  So, we are worried and we are making contingencies that this could be at the beginning of a refugee situation of significant magnitude in Ghana,” said the spokeswoman.  

Fleming notes within this chaotic mix of internally displaced people and refugees is a relatively small group of Liberian refugees.  She says the political instability also is affecting the 24,000 Liberian refugees who are residing in Ivory Coast.

She says the UNHCR is beginning an airlift on Saturday to repatriate any of the refugees who wish to go back to the homes they fled in Liberia many years ago.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
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.

AppleAndroid