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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid