Côte d'Ivoire

1.1 million Ivorians internally displaced

News and Press Release
Originally published
(United Nations, 10 January 2003) Due to increasing rebel activity in the southwestern area of Côte d'Ivoire bordering Liberia, the number of internally displaced persons arriving in and transiting through the port city of San Pedro has climbed into the thousands. OCHA is organizing a joint-UN mission on 14 January to assess the humanitarian situation there and in the coastal city of Tabou, about 80 kilometers further west and some 20 kilometers from the Liberian border.
The scale of displacement in Cote d'Ivoire is both large and rapid. Out of a population of 16 million, an estimated 600,000 were displaced internally by the end of November. Fighting in the west since then has caused further population movements, currently estimated at an additional 500,000. The total number of IDPs topped 1.1 million by the beginning of January. In addition, over 23,000 Ivorian refugees have fled to neighboring countries, and 129,000 third country nationals are retuning home to neighboring countries of Liberia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Ghana.

As the humanitarian situation on the ground continues to worsen, the threat of epidemics is rising. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports a total of 70 cases of cholera in Côte d'Ivoire from 22 Dec through 5 January, including 15 deaths. Control measures are in place, and appropriate medication is available, they report. Measles, yellow fever and meningitis are also of concern. Polio vaccination campaigns are thwarted by the situation. Press reports indicate that a large number of displaced, especially women and children, are contracting malaria. These disease outbreaks occur while the medical sector, particularly in the north, is experiencing a lack of medicines and health services.

While there is no current food crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, massive displacement of populations from the west and north towards the center and south, rebel presence / aggression in the north and west, and the generally deteriorating economic situation could create a food shortage in the coming months if stability is not restored. Press reports indicate that harvesting of cocoa and coffee beans in the west is being hindered by rebel aggressions. Farmers in northern rebel-held areas have registered a fear of working their fields due to the unpredictability of the rebels: yam, plantain and manioc harvests are at risk.

For further information, please contact:

ABIDJAN: Jeff Brez 225 2240 4442

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.