News / Africa

Ivory Coast IDPs Living in Alarming Conditions

A man distributes bread to children at Abidjan's St. Ambrose church, a temporary refuge for people who fled from clashes between forces loyal to incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara (File)
A man distributes bread to children at Abidjan's St. Ambrose church, a temporary refuge for people who fled from clashes between forces loyal to incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara (File)

After months of fighting, the United Nations refugee agency says it is only now that the desperate conditions under which tens of thousands of homeless people are living is becoming clear. This is because insecurity in western Ivory Coast has prevented U.N. staff from gaining access to many of them.

The UNHCR says fighting appears to have ended in the wake of the capture of the former President, Laurent Gbagbo. Nevertheless, it says ethnic tensions remain high and many people are still hiding in the bush.

UNHCR spokesman, Andrej Mahecic, says in Duekoue, 27,000 people currently are being sheltered at the overcrowded Catholic mission, after fleeing nearby villages. He says five of these people died this week of malaria.

"Many of the displaced told UNHCR they are waiting to see security restored in their areas of origin so that they can return home. Some of them have asked to be escorted back to their villages, for fear of harassment at checkpoints," Mahecic said.

Mahecis added that "there have been reports over the past 10 days of rape and physical abuse by armed men along the road from Duekoue to Bangolo. Other IDPs, traumatized by the recent massacres in Duekoue say they want to leave the town and seek their families in other areas."  

In early April, the town of Duekoue was the scene of a massacre, which claimed an estimated 800 lives. Mahecic describes as deplorable the living conditions of thousands of other displaced people scattered throughout the region.

He says the UNHCR is working to increase its presence in western Ivory Coast so it can more effectively provide help to these destitute people.  

Meanwhile, the World Food Program (WFP) reports it finally has been able to reach and thoroughly assess the damage done to its warehouse in the commercial capital, Abidjan.  A few days ago, the warehouse was looted of food stock and set on fire.

WFP spokeswoman, Emilia Casella, says aid workers were surprised and relieved to find that some of the food stock had survived the onslaught and might be recoverable.  

"We had reported that the entire site was looted. My colleague had sent me a note saying that they are still doing an assessment that all of the rice and oil was stolen. And, obviously, the rice is a very important staple," Casella said. "But, there were some quantities of high nutrient corn-soy blend, which is generally used as special food, a supplementary food for malnourished children, which apparently may be recoverable as well as, perhaps, some quantities of peas and salt. So, we are pleased to know that there is some food that we may be able to recover in Abidjan."

Casella says WFP plans to send two flights, carrying 90 tons of rice, into Abidjan on Saturday. She says additional flights also are planned for the following two days.

If all goes as planned, she says some 270 tons of rice will be brought into Abidjan, enough to feed 81,000 people for one week.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs