UNFPA estimates that 1/4 of Abidjan's population was displaced by the conflict. As people have already started to return, we are preparing for a significant increase on the demand of health care services in the capital. We are working with partners to provide additional medical kits and supplies.
The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) started airlifting food from Bamako in Mali into Abidjan this week as part of plan to transport 9,000 metric tonnes of cereals (rice) emergency food aid, a spokesman said.
“(The) security situation permitting, 2 daily airlifts in the next 3 days will transport a total of 270 metric tons to Abidjan. General food distributions will then be organised for the displaced individuals as soon as the security situation allows,” said Malek Triki, the WFP spokesman
The Ghanaian government plans to relocate the Ampain camp site from the Western region to the Central region of Ghana due to inadequate capacity of the camp to house the current population of 3,030 people. UNFPA will preposition reproductive health kits by the end of next week in this region to support the reproductive health needs of the intended refugee population.
The European Commission has doubled its humanitarian aid to Ivory Coast by an additional €30 million ($43.55 million), bringing its total allocation to € 60 million ($87.1 million).
"The Ivory Coast is passing through a very difficult period, but now there is a chance to turn a new page. Whether this opportunity will be used, depends primarily on Ivorian citizens, but also on our ability to help them. We need to maintain both the speed and the scale of our assistance, so that we can not only feed the hungry and shelter the displaced, but also heal the wounds of this conflict. We must also not forget Liberia where a large number of refugees still reside," Kristalina Georgieva, the E.U. commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response said in a statement.
The security situation is Abidjan has improved in the past week but fighting continued in the city's biggest commune of Yopougon an official of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Wednesday.
"There has been fighting in Yopuogon and what we notice is that those who are injured find it hard to reach hospitals in the area," Xavier Simon, the head of the Belgian arm of MSF in Ivory Coast, told AlertNet on the phone from Abidjan.
David Peppiatt, British Red Cross international director, reports back from Liberia on the fragile situation for Ivorian refugees and their Liberian hosts:
Last week I spent five days visiting some of the most remote communities along the Liberian border with the Ivory Coast, where the complexity of the situation, with its ethnic divisions and history of violence, became increasingly evident.
Given the political events in Abidjan, with Gbagbo arrested, I wondered if people wanted to return. But most we spoke to are too frightened and it’s not surprising given what they’ve experienced.
Many refugees fled terrible violence and conflict in recent weeks and months and it’s uncertain when they will feel safe enough to return.
One of the issues in this current crisis is that you can’t just meet the needs of the refugee population without addressing the needs and vulnerabilities of the communities who are hosting them. When it comes to accessing food and water, the needs of Liberians along the Ivory Coast border are great and are being exacerbated by the influx of refugees.
Liberia is rated on the UN Human Development Index as 162 out of 169 countries, meaning it has high levels of poverty and one of the worst rates of life expectancy at birth in the world. The hospitality Liberian communities have shown to refugees is therefore even more impressive.
During the Liberian civil war, many Liberians sought refuge in communities in the Ivory Coast and there’s something remarkable about the reciprocation of that care in time of crisis – families are sharing everything, their food, homes and water with their neighbours from across the border.
Almost everyone we spoke to said their main concern was to feed their family and it’s clear there’s a real scarcity of food.
With the influx of refugees, there are now an additional 110,000 people in an area where getting enough food to eat is already a major challenge. Responding to this need has to be a priority for the Red Cross.
It means we’ll have to prepare for the next 6-12 months to support the refugees and the host communities. It’s not a separate issue, as around 90 per cent of refugees are living in host communities. We visited one village in Nimba county of 1,500 that has exploded to 15,000 creating huge pressures on food and water.
When you see such high levels of need in food, health and shelter it can seem overwhelming. But we need to focus on the key areas in which we have expertise and can make a difference, such as: first aid; water and sanitation; restoring family links; and distributing tools and seeds to help families address their food needs.
But health needs for example, need to be met by another agency and we need to co-ordinate with other agencies.
By the end of the week, it was clear to me that many Ivorian refugees feel very uncertain what the future holds and that the humanitarian crisis is by no means over.
I know we’ve been asking a lot of our supporters recently with so many disasters and so many appeals for money. But it is clear to me that this is a crisis in which your help can make all the difference.
Please visit our website and make a donation today: redcross.org.uk