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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid