While the post-election violence that wracked Ivory Coast began to subside almost a month ago, emergency medical needs remain at critical levels, medical relief group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said in a statement.
“In Abidjan, health centers and hospitals are overwhelmed with patients—including newly wounded ones—and medical and drug supplies in the city are still dangerously low. In the west of the country, the situation remains extremely tense as many villages remain empty and people continue to hide in the bush,” MSF said.
Back to school soon. Displaced children in western Côte d'Ivoire who have been out of school for months will shortly have an opportunity to continue their education and regain a sense of normalcy. A couple of days ago, a flight with tents that was chartered by Save the Children landed in Man, western Côte d'Ivoire. These tents that will used to set up temporary classrooms and monitored playgrounds for children displaced by conflict.
Opening of a “song writing competition” in Bahn Camp in Nimba County, Liberia. The songs are carrying prevention messages (against GBV, promotion of safe motherhood, etc.) The best lyrics will be recorded by a group of refugee artists singing in French, English and Yacouba.
6000 dignity kits for adolescents, women and men are transported by road and boat to reach the most remote part of Liberia in Nimba, Grand Gedeh and Maryland counties where refugees from Ivory Coast are hosted.
A GBV working group has been launched in Grand Gedeh, bringing together all the partners in order to update the national referral pathway to better respond to the Ivorian refugee crisis. An estimated 60 000 Refugees are already in Grand Gedeh, and some Ivorians still continue to flee Ivory Coast to this day.
A training on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse was conducted in Nimba County. Representatives from Government, UN agencies, International & National NGOs participated actively. Information was also given on the GBV prevention checklists applicable for each sectors of the emergency response.
Who else will be missing at Alassane Ouattara’s inauguration tomorrow? Odile and her twin babies. This mother of 30 was about to give birth when she was forced to flee her home due to fighting in her village Ghehibly, western Côte d’Ivoire. Together with her two children, Odile walked for about 18 kilometres before arriving in the site set up for displaced families in Duékoué. Four days later, she delivered twin babies who she is now trying to keep alive despite all the difficulties she is facing like access to food, water and sanitation. Save the Children staff provided Odile with a kit of items for her newborn twins. The kits include soap, baby clothes, a bed sheet, towels, nappies and baby power.
Over 60 tons of medical supplies, including operating tables, incubators, hospital beds, reanimation kits for newborns and adults, were donated by UNFPA in Bouaké to the regional “préfet” of Vallée du Bandama to increase the technical capacities of health facilities in the region. At the height of the crisis, over 60,000 displaced people came to the area, while the main hospital became the only reference center for the north, west and central areas of Cote d’Ivoire.
The International Monetary Fund has reached a $130 million loan deal with Ivory Coast, Reuters reports
Our Representative in Cote d'Ivoire is participating in a diplomatic mission in the country's Western region to assess the humanitarian needs following clashes between militias and the republican forces. 1,000 dignity kits will be distributed in the region in collaboration with GBV partners who have identified beneficiaries.
Our dignity kits distributed in Western Cote d'Ivoire include: underwear, sanitary pads, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, t-shirt, sandals, toilet paper, and bags.
Several cases of sexual violence in Cote d'Ivoire were reported during the recent post-electoral violence. In the locality of Douake alone, 21 rape survivors came forward to seek treatment. UNFPA collected their testimonies. "I was locked inside my house and two men in civil clothing broke in. I tried to hide, but when they found me, they beat me and raped me."--a 39 year-old survivor
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.
Ivory Coast has indefinitely extended the timeframe of a move to make health services free in the aftermath of the country’s post-electoral unrest, a statement by Save the Children said late on Thursday.
“This extension allows for more people, especially women and children, to receive medical care that fees would have otherwise prevented them from accessing,” Guy Cave, the country director of Save the Children in Ivory Coast said. “It’s a step in the right direction,” he added.
The initial exemption to user fees that expired on June 5 enabled thousands of people to get treatment in a country where there is no national health insurance and the patients must pay up-front in cash.
“Save the Children is delighted with the decision to continue free access to health care. Not everyone was aware of the first exemption,” Cave said.
The aid group and others aid had urged the Ivorian authorities to extend the measure and to consider establishing a free healthcare system in the long-term with donor support.
On the occasion of Mother's Day in Banh refugee camp (Liberia), seven songs composed by a group of 12 refugee artists led by Madam Sylvie Kouame, with the support of UNFPA, were presented to the public.
The songs focused on the prevention of gender based violence, the promotion of safe motherhood and children rights. Several groups of refugees also presented creative projects such as drama, traditional dresses and songs from Cote d'Ivoire. Partners working in emergency response took the opportunity to sensitize fellow refugees about GBV and prevention of maternal death.