The humanitarian situation in Côte d'Ivoire is worsening as fighting and looting continue. An ICRC-chartered aircraft landed this morning in the northern town of Man with nearly 12 tonnes of supplies to meet the most urgent needs of people affected by the conflict.
"Starting today, the medicines and other medical items will be distributed, mainly in hospitals and health-care centres in the west of the country. They will then be delivered in Abidjan as soon as security conditions permit," said Dominique Liengme, who heads the ICRC delegation in Côte d'Ivoire. "Injured people are being taken to hospital by volunteers of the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire, or by whatever means they can organize, but the hospitals are more and more overwhelmed. Medical supplies are lacking, and hospital staff sometimes have to perform their duties without running water or electricity."
Tens of thousands of men, women and children who continue to flee the fighting have taken refuge in makeshift reception centres in public buildings. They lack food and drinking water, and the sick need to be cared for. Also on board the ICRC aircraft were nearly one and a half tonnes of pipes, pumps and other items needed to upgrade water supply systems.
Aid for injured and displaced people in Abidjan
The civilian population in Abidjan has been hard hit by the effects of the fighting that has taken place during the last few hours. People living in several neighbourhoods are having to cope with shortages of water and electricity, and with exhausted food stocks. Those who are wounded have to remain in their homes as there is no way to evacuate them. Furthermore, the lack of security makes it very difficult for humanitarian workers and emergency personnel to carry out their work.
"We again call on all weapon bearers to respect and protect civilians, and to facilitate humanitarian work," said Ms Liengme. In recent days, Ivorian Red Cross volunteers have looked after and evacuated injured people in the Cocody neighbourhood in very difficult circumstances.
Within the past fortnight, the ICRC has provided 1,300 displaced people in reception centres in Abidjan with emergency aid. It has also escorted five trucks from the Ivorian water board transporting products needed to treat the water that is relied upon by over 800,000 people in Abidjan.
Humanitarian aid needed in the west
In the west of the country, the need for humanitarian aid remains considerable. "What is needed above all by the resident population and tens of thousands of people displaced by the violence is security, food, drinking water and health care," said Ms Liengme. The ICRC is making sure that 10,000 people are regularly supplied with water.
In Duékoué, the ICRC is helping Ivorian Red Cross volunteers to recover bodies in the streets and houses so that they can be buried with dignity.
In recent weeks, the ICRC and the Ivorian Red Cross have also brought aid to thousands of needy people in Guiglo and Danané, and in and near Toulepleu. Many injured people were given first aid in Guiglo, and displaced people in several reception centres received assistance. Along the road from Bin Houyé to Toulepleu and Bloléquin, a mobile clinic is offering free consultations and treatment. To date, over 100 people have used the services it provides. In addition, over 2,100 people in Danané and Touleplue have been given emergency supplies or food.
In Liberia, where the United Nations estimates that 120,000 Ivorians have so far sought refuge, the ICRC and the Liberia National Red Cross Society continue to restore contact between children and other refugees and the families from which they have been separated. In addition, together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, they are helping refugees and their host communities to obtain the drinking water they need. The ICRC has also visited people detained in Harper Central Prison, in Maryland County, in connection with the conflict in Côte d'Ivoire.
For further information, please contact:
Kelnor Panglungtshang, ICRC Abidjan, tel: +225 09 399 404
Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 251 93 18
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