News / Africa

UN Says Thousands of Ivorians Flee Post-Election Crisis

Ivorian women who have fled seen collecting water in Guiglo
Ivorian women who have fled seen collecting water in Guiglo
Lisa Schlein

The UN refugee agency reports some 2,000 Ivorians, mostly women and children, have fled to neighboring Liberia and Guinea, following the post-electoral crisis in Ivory Coast.

UN refugee spokesman, Andre Mahejic says the refugees do not claim to have been threatened or attacked by fellow Ivorians.

"They told UNHCR their movement was precautionary prompted by fears of instability and violence as the political deadlock persists," Mahejic said. "A first group of 300 refugees reached Liberia on 29 November, a day after the second round of presidential elections. Guinea started registering arrivals on Wednesday."  

A potentially deadly stalemate exists between the self-proclaimed president, Laurent Gbagbo and his electoral opponent, Alassane Quattara, who is considered to have won the presidency by the international community.

Fears are rising that the country may break out into civil war as it did in 2002. Last week, the human rights group Amnesty International reported dozens of opposition supporters were beaten or wounded by bullets, killing at least nine people.

UNHCR spokesman, Andrej Mahecic says an estimated 1,700 Ivorians have crossed into Nimba county in northeastern Liberia and another 200 have arrived exhausted in Guinea after having walked for two days.

"UNHCR teams are currently visiting refugees in both countries," he added. They are scattered in isolated and poor border villages, hosted by local communities, which have been generously sharing their resources. Our teams, visiting the border areas are registering the new arrivals and assessing their conditions in order to respond to their immediate needs. Most of the Ivorian asylum seekers are in good physical health and in good condition. But, they urgently need food and shelter to ease the pressure on the local communities hosting them. They also need clean drinking water, clothing and basic cooking and hygiene items."

Before the current crisis, the UNHCR has been assisting some 13,000 Ivorian refugees who fled the 2002 civil war in their country. They remain in exile in Liberia, Guinea and Mali.

Mahecic says the UNHCR is continuing to monitor very closely the situation in and around Ivory Coast. He says the agency is taking steps to strengthen its readiness to respond should the situation deteriorate.

He says the UNHCR has a regional warehouse in Ghana, which stores emergency relief items. He says these items could be sent almost immediately to cover any emergency in West Africa, including the one growing in Ivory Coast.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs