(Abidjan/Dakar/New York, 28 April 2011): Thousands of people in the south, centre and west of Côte d’Ivoire remain in grave need of humanitarian aid.
“Despite our commitment to support the people and the Government, insecurity still limits our ability to provide aid in Yopougon and Abobo neighbourhoods in Abidjan as well as in the vicinity of Zouan Hounien, Toulepleu and Bloléquin, where instability persists,” said Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Ndolamb Ngokwey.
Over the last three weeks, the humanitarian community, supported by the United Nations Disaster and Assessment Coordination team (UNDAC), has assessed needs in both Abidjan and the rest of the country. Among the sectors affected most by the crisis are health, education, water and sanitation, shelter and protection.
Medicine, personnel, equipment and medical treatment have been provided to hospitals, and a mobile clinic programme has been put in place in the west and in Abidjan for those who are unable to reach health centers or hospitals for treatment. Reducing the burden facing functioning hospitals is also essential.
Reopening schools has proven challenging due to the displacement of children and teachers, looting of equipment, the occupation of schools by internally displaced persons (IDPs), and insecurity in Abidjan neighborhoods, including Yopougon and Abobo. Aid workers have supplied educational materials, created temporary classes and recruited volunteer teachers. A school feeding programme is planned to encourage children to return to schools and provide nutritional support. Up to 800,000 children have missed classes for four to six months because of the crisis.
At the height of the crisis, safe drinking water was scarce in Abidjan and other parts of the country. With assistance from the authorities, measures have been taken to restore the water supply in Abidjan and progressively within the rest of the country, although water shortages are still frequent in Man. In addition, the accumulation of garbage for many weeks in certain parts of Abidjan, Man and Duekoue poses a threat to public health for which urgent action is required. In Abidjan, garbage collection is in progress in accessible neighborhoods and humanitarian workers are supporting community initiatives in Duekoue and Man. More resources are needed to replicate this kind of intervention in other zones.
“More must be done to protect civilians and assist victims of rape and assault, which continue in areas of the country that remain insecure. This must stop, and law and order must be restored so that the population can live in peace,” said Mr. Ngokwey.
“The overcrowding of the Catholic Mission in Duekoue, presently sheltering 28,000 people on four hectares, is unacceptable. Humanitarian workers are continuing work to reduce the size of the camp population to a manageable level,” said Mr. Neils Scott, Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Côte d’Ivoire.
Access to areas around Zouan Hounien, Toulepleu and Bloléquin remains problematic despite large-scale humanitarian needs. Most villages have been devastated, and their inhabitants are displaced in the bush or in Liberia. Those who remain in the villages are in dire need of water, shelter, food and medical care. Due to insecurity, humanitarian workers can reach the area only with military escorts, which greatly limit their access to people in need.
Due to forced displacement and looting, some households who rely heavily on agriculture will need support for both the immediate and longer term. The distribution of seeds and food will begin soon.
The $160 million appeal for Côte d’Ivoire and neighboring countries is only 20 per cent funded.
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