Côte d'Ivoire

CARE calls on Côte d'Ivoire leaders to protect civilians

Kaye Stearman
On the eve of the Paris conference called to resolve the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, CARE International has called on Ivorian leaders to stop the situation deteriorating further and to protect the civilian populations from the worst consequences of the conflict.

The crisis in Côte d'Ivoire is affecting people throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the combat zones and the economic situation is getting worse day by day.

Guillaume Aguettant, Director of CARE Côte d'Ivoire, says. 'In the zones held by the rebel movements fighting has prevented children from going back to school. Hundreds of thousands of young people are out of work and therefore vulnerable to being recruited to take part in the fighting. At the same time most health centres have run out of drugs and the vast majority of health workers can no longer offer a service. CARE teams have already reported the first cases of cholera and meningitis.'

CARE is running an emergency food assistance programme for the displaced population at Bouaké and in the surrounding area. The initial programme hopes to bring help to more than 100,000 people over three months. CARE provides food assistance to people displaced from their homes in Bouaké. CARE plans to feed more than 100,000 people for three months. The population of Bouaké is typically around 500,000, but roughly half the people fled after earlier fighting. Those left include the most vulnerable - women, children and the elderly. CARE is implementing food-for-work projects and distributing seeds to improve agricultural production in areas that are hosting displaced people.

CARE's HIV/AIDS work in Abidjan has been disrupted by the fighting, but is continuing in a limited fashion. CARE's SIDA en exode project continues in Niger and with Nigerian migrants in Côte d'Ivoire.

Notes for editors

CARE International is one of the world's leading humanitarian organisations fighting global poverty. CARE helps communities improve their quality of life through projects in agriculture and natural resources, economic development, education, food, health, water and sanitation and emergency response. For more information, please visit www.care.org

For further information about CARE's work in Côte d'Ivoire (in French or English) contact: Martine Duhamel, MCS Communication, Tel: 01 47 48 94 14; fax: 01 47 48 11 39; e-mail: m.duhamel.mcs@wanadoo.fr or François Jung-Rozenfarb, CARE France, Tel: 01 53 19 89 95; fax: 01 53 19 89 90; e-mail: jungrozenfarb@carefrance.org