Ivory Coast conflict - ALERTNET

Ivory Coast conflict

Updates from AlertNet and humanitarian agencies

  • Five weeks ago Laurent Gbagbo was arrested. Next Saturday Alassane Ouattara will be sworn in as the president. Aside from the political situation, has the humanitarian crisis in Ivory Coast been settled? What are the needs of the displaced people who haven't returned home yet? Listen to Save the Children's Steven McDonald on ABC radio Australia.

  • FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Ivory Coast www.trust.org
  • Hawa’s story: caring for Ivorian children in a refugee camp
    By Sarah Oughton, international writer, British Red Cross

    When Hawa Gbah, 32, fled conflict in the Ivory Coast she escaped with her one-year-old son but she doesn’t know what happened to her husband and three older children.

    After a gruelling journey through the bush, Hawa arrived in Liberia and is now living in a camp outside Zorgowee town, Nimba county. Bouncing her young son on her knee, she told me: “When the fighting began I was at home with my youngest son, but my three older children were out with my husband.

    “I was looking for them as I made my way to Liberia. Although I didn’t find them, I found four other children on the journey who I knew from my village. I brought them all with me and am now looking after them in this camp.”

    Struggle for food


    “I miss my husband and my other children,” Hawa said. “Now I’m the breadwinner and I have five children to look after but there’s no work here for me and life is very difficult.”

    Although the security situation in the Ivory Coast continues to improve, there are still reports of outbreaks of violence, particularly in the west near the border with Liberia. Many refugees, like Hawa, feel too frightened to return home.

    Red Cross support

    “My brother-in-law is also here in the camp and the Red Cross has provided us with free phone calls,” Hawa said. “We have both tried calling my husband but cannot get through to him. I think he is still in the Ivory Coast but I don’t know where.”

    Red Cross volunteers are working hard to help restore contact between families separated by the conflict. So far, in Liberia’s Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties the Red Cross has helped more than 3,250 people to make successful phone calls to family members.

    For tens of thousands of displaced people in the west of the Ivory Coast and refugees in neighbouring Liberia, there is still concern about the danger of returning home.

    Entire villages were devastated by the conflict, and the needs of residents and displaced people remain acute. The Red Cross is distributing supplies and food, making available drinking water and supporting medical facilities.
  • Hawa (r) with her one-year-old son and another girl she is looking after

  • University students in Abidjan may lose this academic year after their institutions were looted and practically destroyed during the post-electoral unrest in the West African nation, the L'Expression newspaper reported on Thursday.
    An interesting an detailed report that shows the impact of the Ivorian crisis on the education of thousands of University students. Read it here: bit.ly
  • MSF has published a series of testimonies by ordinary Ivorians – the grandparents, children, fathers and sisters of the country – who suffered in the violence that swept Ivory Coast after a contested election.
    MSF says weeks after the violence started to subside many villages still lie empty in the west, with their communities hiding in the bush, displaced in camps or living as refugees in Liberia.
    “People broke into our house armed with rifles, machetes and hoes…They shot me in the shoulder. I fell down, pretending to be dead. One of them struck my head with his foot. When he saw I was still breathing, he pointed his gun at the back of my head and told me to get up.
    But there were no bullets left in his rifle so, he took a machete and struck me on the throat. I was breathless and he struck me on my head. He wounded me badly. Then he took his machete and struck me again on my head. He thought I was dead. I lost so much blood that day…” bit.ly
  • Rachel, 16, is one of the hundreds of thousands of children who have been uprooted by the recent conflict in the Ivory Coast. Today, Rachel is looking to the future and shares her hopes and dreams with Save the Children.

    “I want to be an airplane pilot. I want to have peace, so I can go to a big university like the University of Yamoussoukro. If you have nothing in the world you are nothing. I want peace, no more war, that there is love and forgiveness.”

    Photo credit: Jen Budden/Save the Children

  • Antoinette, 10, is one of the hundreds of thousands of children who have been uprooted by the recent conflict in the Ivory Coast. Today, Antoinette tells Save the Children how she’d like to return to school. Up to one million children have had their education disrupted in the months following disputed elections in the Ivory Coast. Antoinette is now looking to the future and shares her hopes and dreams with Save the Children.

    "For the future I want to go to school and be a good student because then I can make my own way. I want to be a primary school teacher and teach students."

    Photo credit: Jen Budden/Save the Children

  • Rose, 10, is one of the hundreds of thousands of children who have been uprooted by the recent conflict in the Ivory Coast. Today, Rose tells Save the Children how she’d like to return to school. Up to one million children have had their education disrupted in the months following disputed elections in the Ivory Coast. Rose is now looking to the future and shares her hopes and dreams with Save the Children.

    “I want to become an international lawyer. I want my parents to find work. I want to feel like I felt at home. I want my country to develop and want no more war to happen because in the war we lost everything. School is a very big advantage. We children learn how to speak French well, to count and to realize our dreams”

    “I want to greet all the children of Africa. I want to say a big thank you to all the children of the world who supported Côte d’Ivoire during the electoral crisis. I want to thank them and their parents for supporting Côte d’Ivoire with a warm heart. I lost my uncle during the crisis and I present my condolences to those children who lost their parents during the crisis.”

    Photo credit: Jen Budden/Save the Children

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