Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire: Humanitarian agencies work to meet food and health needs

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New York - The humanitarian situation in Cote d'Ivoire remains worrisome, almost one year after an attempted coup d'etat that split the country in two, on 19 September 2002. Public services are still not available in the north and in the Government-controlled west, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without access to basic health care, and threatening to deprive tens of thousands of children of a second consecutive year of formal education. UN agencies and their non-governmental organization (NGO) partners are also combating insecurity, and food needs created by the residual effects of the conflict.
In northern, central and western areas of the country, a lack of medicines and primary health care is reported to be the biggest stumbling block in providing for the needs of the internally displaced and other affected populations. Earlier this year, UNICEF supplied its operational partners with medicines to cover the basic needs of 1.2 million people for three months. UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) continue to fight the spread of epidemics by supporting vaccination and immunization programmes countrywide, and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is working with the Government and NGO partners to reduce infant and maternal mortality, and stem the spread of sexually transmitted infections, and HIV/AIDS.

In its continuing response to the educational and recreational needs of over one hundred thousand children directly affected by the conflict in Côte d'Ivoire, UNICEF is running four "child friendly" centres in the two cities of Abidjan and Yamoussoukro, where large numbers of internally displaced families have converged. The agency has also recently supplied educational and recreational kits to humanitarian organisations in northern, central and western towns. UNICEF has also signed a Master Plan of Operations with the Côte d'Ivoire government for a new program of co-operation covering 2003 to 2007, including programmes in support of education, protection of children and women, and health care initiatives.

Ivorians' ability to produce their own food has been hampered by the disruption of agricultural production during the conflict. As a result, many farmers in the west and north face difficulties, as they are without food, seeds or agricultural implements to restart cultivation. In the north, cotton farmers are facing severe food shortages as they were unable to sell their crop during the conflict. In response, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is distributing seeds and tools in the west and southwest to help restart agricultural activities.

Since the crisis erupted, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has been providing food under programmes across the country tailored to help the most vulnerable groups: children, refugees, IDPs, nationals of West African countries, pregnant and breast feeding mothers, the mentally handicapped and families hosting IDPs. WFP, in cooperation with the Ivorian Government and UNICEF, is also using feeding programmes in schools and institutions in northern, western and central areas to gain direct access to vulnerable children, to encourage regular school attendance and to avoid the recruitment of children by armed elements.

For further information on the humanitarian situation in Côte d'Ivoire, contact Jeff Brez, Information Officer, UN OCHA: jeff@ocha.ci / +225-2240-5174

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