Humanitarian agencies alarmed by the worsening humanitarian and security situation in western Côte d’Ivoire
(Abidjan/Geneva, June 13, 2012) - Recent attacks by unidentified armed men targeting civilians in the Ivory Coast's western region of Taï have led to new population displacements.
While the exact number of casualties remains to be confirmed, these attacks are showing a worrying trend as they occurred only four days after ten civilians and seven UN peacekeepers were killed in the same region. These new incidents targeted the villages of Tiero-Oula et Sieblo-Oula, located only 15 kilometres south of Taï along the border with Liberia. “These recent attacks are having serious consequences for the civilian population”, says Ndolamb Ngokwey, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Côte d’Ivoire. “They have a direct impact on the work carried out by humanitarian organizations in the field as the affected population is becoming difficult to reach due to the security situation”.
As of today, humanitarian agencies estimate that over 5,000 people are displaced, among whom a majority is women and children. “We call upon the Ivorian Authorities, supported by the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), to take the necessary measures to protect the civilian population in the affected areas”, Mr. Ngokwey adds.
Where the situation allows, humanitarian agencies are providing emergency assistance to the displaced people to ensure access to drinking water, food, health care and essential non-food items. Many of the displaced are currently living with host families, thereby placing a heavy burden on their already meagre livelihoods. In some areas, humanitarian actors have ceased their activities as a result of the security situation along the Taï-Grabo road.
The humanitarian community deeply deplores this new threat that is causing fear among the local population. Not only do these attacks drive people away from their homes and villages and threaten their well-being, but they also come at a time when people are still recovering from the trauma endured during the post-electoral crisis over one year ago.
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