News / Africa

    Oxfam Warns of 'Forgotten Emergency' in West Africa

    A group of Ivorian refugees trek onwards to the town Gborplay in Liberia, after being ferried across the Cestos river at the border with Ivory Coast in a raft (File Photo)
    A group of Ivorian refugees trek onwards to the town Gborplay in Liberia, after being ferried across the Cestos river at the border with Ivory Coast in a raft (File Photo)

    The International aid group Oxfam is warning the crisis in Ivory Coast is creating another “forgotten emergency” in Africa as thousands of Ivorian refugees flee into neighboring Liberia.

    Tariq Riebl spoke to Voice of America from Liberia’s capital Monrovia. He says the number of Ivorian refugees in Liberia has increased dramatically in recent weeks.

    "Most of the Ivorian refugees are still located right in the border regions," he said. "They have been hosted by Liberian villages, which have been very receptive, however lack public health and shelter facilities."

    He says as the world’s attention is focused on political upheaval in North Africa the escalating emergency in Ivory Coast risks being forgotten.

    A disputed presidential election in Ivory Coast last November sparked violence and unrest.  The incumbent leader, Laurent Gbagbo, is refusing to step down even though his opponent, Alassane Ouattara, is widely considered the winner.

    Oxfam says refugees have been fleeing to Liberia since November, but until last month the exodus was slow paced, around 100 people a day.

    But Riebl says in the past two weeks about 30,000 people have fled Ivory Coast.  He says the total number of Ivorian refugees in Liberia is around 70,000. Most, he says, are close to the border and it is too many people for the Liberians who are trying to help.

    "The Liberian host community has been very receptive so far, and has been very warm in their welcome," he said. "However as the numbers have been increasing, and recently increasing rapidly, they are completely overwhelmed and unable to cope with the influx."

    The head of U.S. based charity Child Fund International has told VOA the number of refugees could threaten the Liberia’s stability. Anne Goddard said Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is also worried.

    Civil war ended in Liberia less than a decade ago and the country is still working toward rebuilding its shattered infrastructure.

    Riebl says a lot needs to be done to make sure the refugees that have fled to Liberia are housed and have access to water and health services.

    "We need to rapidly increase the set-up of camps and put up more permanent shelters further inland to be able to move people away from the border where they can have proper service delivery and also where they can be better protected from the combat that is occurring just across the border on the other side from where they are currently," said Riebl.

    Anti-Gbagbo forces say they have taken control of Toulepleu, a town near Ivory Coast’s western border with Liberia, where fighting broke out on Sunday. Gbagbo’s allied forces have not confirmed the seizure.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora