Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire: Health Hazard DREF Bulletin no. MDRCI001 Final Report


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In Brief

Period covered by this Final Report: 15 September to 10 November 2006. History of this Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF)-funded operation:

- CHF 120,000 (USD 97,704 or EUR 76,164) was allocated from the Federation's DREF on 14 September 2006 to respond to the needs in this operation (refer to DREF Bulletin no. MDRCI001).

- This operation was implemented over two months, and was completed by end of November 2006.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.

Background and Summary

In the night of 22 to 23 September 2006, an alarm was raised over a suffocating odour emanating from some waste in different parts of Abidjan, the economic capital of Côte d'Ivoire. The most affected areas were Cocody, Abobo, Port-Bouet and Bingerville. The gas emanations from the waste not only polluted the environment, but also caused various pathological problems in these communities. Among the effects were breathing, digestive and dermatological problems, which mostly affected youths and children aged under 15 years.

Thousand of affected people sought medical attention and the Ivorian Government provided treatment, including Xray scans and medicines, free of charge. The Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire (RCSCI) complemented government efforts by providing essential services. The Red Cross operation focused on the provision of first aid and community-based health care, while enforcing awareness on the risk of contamination and prevention within the Abidjan communities. The National Society also conducted hygiene promotion and sanitation activities in the affected areas of Abidjan.

According to the Ivorian Civil Protection Department, 26,000 people were affected. Preliminary reports from laboratories of the Centre Ivoirien Anti-Pollution (CIAPOL) and Society of International Radiology (SIR) revealed a product containing acutely toxic high hydrogen sulphide concentration which, if allowed to stay in the environment, could permeate the soil and seep into ground water, thereby causing long-term damage and pollution.

On 14 September 2006, the International Federation allocated CHF 120,000 (USD 97,704 or EUR 76,164) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to enable the National Society effectively respond to this crisis. The RCSCI implemented a two months operation, with technical support from the Federation's sub-regional office in Lagos. The response was also supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Spanish Red Cross.


The Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire, as a long time partner of the government and as an auxiliary of public authorities, worked with the Ministry of Health (MoH) in the affected areas. In its effort to coordinate all activities during the operation, the Government, through the MoH, set up an ORSEC1 plan in which the RCSCI played a prominent role. In the plan, MoH had two possible response strategies: relocating people living around the dumping sites or retaining them where they lived and having medical teams visit them for treatment.

The RCSCI opted for the second strategy; its medical teams (with mobile clinics) visited the affected people and treated them. ICRC supported the intervention by providing generic medicines, and the Spanish Red Cross motivated Red Cross volunteers and staff in the field.

Contact information

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Côte d'Ivoire: Koffi Boco, Secretary General, Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire, Abidjan; Email: crci@afnet.net; Phone: +; Fax: +

In Nigeria: Stephen Omollo, Federation Head of Nigeria Sub-zonal Office, Lagos; Email: stephen.omollo@ifrc.org; Phone: +; Fax: +

In Senegal: Alasan Senghore, Federation Head of West and Central Africa Zone, Dakar; Email:alasan.senghore@ifrc.org; Phone: +221.869.36.41; Fax +221.860.20.02