Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire: Humanitarian operations threatened by lack of funds

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ABIDJAN, 4 February (IRIN) - Lack of funds threatens efforts by the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide urgent food aid to victims of ongoing conflict in Cote d'Ivoire, WFP said in a communique on Tuesday. Unless donations from the international community are received immediately, life-saving operations could be hampered, the agency reported on Tuesday.
At least 800,000 people had fled south from the north and center of the country and 300,000 had been displaced in the area around the western town of Man, WFP said, adding that another 200,000, mostly migrant workers from neighbouring Burkina Faso, Guinea, Liberia and Mali had left the country. "The situation is steadily deteriorating," the UN agency added.

WFP said it had appealed for $6.6 million for an initial period of five months to respond to the basic needs of about 170,000 people affected by the conflict, including 100,000 recipients of emergency food rations in Cote d'Ivoire, and affected populations in neighbouring countries.

"So far, only 30 percent of resources needed to respond to the ongoing crisis have been confirmed by Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Luxembourg. With these contributions we have covered the most acute needs of tens of thousands of people who fled central and western areas," Gemmo Lodesani, WFP's Emergency Coordinator in Abidjan, said.

In the rebel-held central town of Bouake, over 60 percent of families did not have any income while the remainder had lost 80 percent of their purchasing power. Apart from nutritional imbalances, access to medical facilities and medicine was very poor and expensive.

"Through humanitarian corridors established by WFP in November, war victims in central and northern areas of Cote d'Ivoire have been provided with relief food, almost without interruption," Lodesani said. "But the situation in the west is quite explosive and the security vacuum has crippled humanitarian operations."

WFP had opened five new offices across the country including in the southwestern town of Daloa, Yamoussoukro -the capital -, Bouake and Korhogo in the north, but safe access to western Cote d'Ivoire remained a critical source of concern for humanitarian agencies.

The agency said agreements signed by the belligerents in recent months guaranteed the provision of safe and secure access for aid agencies, but "in the west, however, access remains impossible as the MPIGO (Mouvement Populaire Ivoirien du Grand Ouest) and MJP (Mouvement pour la Justice et la Paix) seem to lack reliable central command structures".

WFP added that the Ivorian crisis had also impacted on Liberia. It said at least 70,000 people, including 40,000 Ivorians, had crossed into that country, putting extra strain on relief efforts to help Liberia's own internal refugees, who number about 185,000.

[ENDS]

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