Côte d'Ivoire + 2 more

Lack of funds threatens humanitarian operations in Côte d'Ivoire

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Abidjan, 4 February 2003 - WFP's efforts to provide urgent food aid to victims of the civil unrest in Cote d'Ivoire could be seriously hampered without urgent donations from the international community.
The agency has launched an appeal for $6.6 million to meet the basic needs of about 170,000 people driven from their homes by fighting between pro and anti-government forces.

To date, only 30 percent of resources have been confirmed, with contributions from the governments of Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

"These contributions have covered the most acute needs of tens of thousands of people who have fled insecurity in central and western areas," said Gemmo Lodesani, WFP's Emergency Coordinator in Abidjan.

"But, life saving operations need donations to succeed and those donations are needed urgently."

The six-month regional operation covers Cote d'Ivoire and neighbouring countries, who risk getting caught up in the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

In Cote d'Ivoire, some 100,000 people are currently receiving emergency food rations.

This figure includes refugees and displaced people in central and southwestern areas as well as 7,500 children who have been sheltered in Abidjan.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE

In a country split by civil war and inflamed by ethnic grievances, WFP's biggest challenge is tracking the movement of IDPs.

Humanitarian workers estimate that up to 800,000 people have fled south from the north and centre of the country, while 300,000 have been displaced in the south-western Man area.

Some 200,000 mostly migrant workers from neighboring countries have fled Cote d'Ivoire for Burkina Faso, Guinea, Liberia and Mali (see below).

According to WFP assessments, over 60 percent of families in Bouake, the country's second city, have no income while the remainder lost 80 percent of their purchasing power.

In addition to the nutritional imbalance, access to medical facilities and medicine is also very poor and expensive.

Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone: too close for comfort

The crisis in Cote d'Ivoire has also a disastrous impact on its western neighbour Liberia, which suffers from its own brutal civil war

Thousands of Liberians fled an upsurge of fighting in their own country early last year, at a time when Cote d'Ivoire was still an oasis of stability in a volatile region

Now, over 70,000 people, including 40,000 Ivorians have gone in the opposite direction, putting extra strain on relief efforts to help Liberia's own 185,000 internal refugees. This is creating yet another emergencywhich already suffers persistent internal conflict

The west African region is already swirling with hundreds of thousands of refugees from earlier wars in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where some 850,000 people depend on WFP food rations for their survival

Humanitarian Access to Cote d'Ivoire

Safe access to western Cote d'Ivoire remains a critical concern of WFP and all humanitarian agencies

The Lomé agreement, signed on 13 January by all Ivorian fractions, stipulates the provision of safe and secure access for aid agencies, and the Marcoussis agreement reinforces that provision.

WFP has succeeded in opening new offices across the country including in Daloa and Yamoussoukro, the administrative capital, and Bouake and Korhogo, insurgent-held towns in the center and north respectively.

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.

"War victims in central and northern areas of Cote d'Ivoire have been provided with relief food, almost without interruption using humanitarian corridors established by WFP in November," says Gemmo Lodesani, WFP's Emergency Coordinator in Abidjan.

"But, the situation in the west is quite explosive and a security vacuum has crippled humanitarian operations."

Contact WFP

For more information on WFP operations in Cote d'Ivoire, contact:

Gemmo Lodesani
Cote d'Ivoire Emergency Coordinator
Tel. +225- 20 30 28 00

Ramin Rafirasme
Public Affairs Officer
WFP West Africa
Tel. +221-849 6500 ext. 4990