Urgent need to strengthen humanitarian aid in Côte d'Ivoire
(Abidjan 27 April, 2011): The post electoral crisis is at the heart of enormous humanitarian needs for thousands of people who are constrained to deal with forceful displacement or who have lost most of their properties including their means of livelihood. The vulnerability of these people is aggravated by insecurity in certain places as well as difficulty in accessing essential health, education and sanitation services.
«A greater proportion of the population has been directly or indirectly affected by the crisis which started late last year. These populations should be assisted without further delay to enable them to live in acceptable conditions and regain their dignity» declared the Humanitarian Coordinator, M. Ndolamb Ngokwey.
In order to assist government, agencies and humanitarian actors in quickly identifying the needs of the most vulnerable persons, United Nations deployed an evaluation and coordination team (UNDAC) to Abidjan and the Western part of the country since 19 April.
In the western part of the country, the UNDAC team in collaboration with United Nation agencies conducted several evaluations. The findings from the evaluation confirmed the existence of persistent humanitarian needs in the areas of shelter, food security, health care, water and sanitation, access to education and protection
Partially destroyed villages and massive displacement of populations have been observed along several axes in the Moyen Cavally and Montagnes regions. The security situation remains fragile within the Zouan Hounien, Toulepleu-frontiere, Blolequin triangle which is now a totally devastated zone and requiring urgent attention
The priority needs in this zone include among others, the distribution of tarpaulin, kitchen utensils, mats and other non food items to enable the population regain better living conditions. The uncertainty of the security situation has led to fear which is preventing the people to even envisage an immediate return to their homes. The presence of arms and the risk of sexual abuse require urgent response in terms of protection.
On the other hand, food and medical care needs have increased. Despite the looting of health centres, pharmacies and maternities, the medical personnel has started to resume work. There is a need to accelerate vaccination programmes for children.
The disinfection of water points and the rehabilitation of manual water pumps as well as the promotion of basic hygiene practices are increasingly necessary.
In Abidjan, joint United Nations teams made up of International Organization for Migration (IOM), Adventist Relief and Development Organization (ADRAO) and UNDAC have participated in rapid assessment visits in the neighbourhoods of Abobo, Anyama, Adjamé, Koumassi, Port Bouët and Grand-Bassam between 19 and 22 April.
The findings of the evaluations have revealed the necessity to assist the government in the areas of civilian protection, health, education and public hygiene.
In the health sector, it is necessary to lighten the burden put on overstretched referral hospitals due to absence of operational dispensaries and community health facilities. Occasional support in form of mobile clinics and medical supplies is necessary and has been initiated by humanitarian organizations.
‘’With the impending rainy season, clearing of drainage, cleaning of conduits, markets and other public places would be necessary to prevents epidemics of diseases such as cholera” stated M. Laurent Dufour, UNDAC’s Team Leader in Côte d’Ivoire.
The school resumption on 26 April was not widely followed as a result of large scale looting of schools and lack of teachers. The recruitment of volunteer teachers is in progress as a stop-gap measure.
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in western part of Côte d’Ivoire are now estimated to be 150,000 while in Youpougon (neighbourhood of Abidjan), thousands people are still being displaced due to the ongoing crisis.
The Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan requirement of $160 million in favour of Côte d’Ivoire and neighbouring countries –Liberia, Guinea, Ghana and Togo- is funded to date at 20% i.e $32 million secured.
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