U.N.'s Le Roy says Gbagbo's forces chief in Ivory Coast contacted U.N. to say ready to lay down arms
Latest podcast from our Press Officer Caroline Gluck at the border of Liberia and the Ivory Coast. She is hearing some pretty tough stories from refugees that are still arriving all across Liberia. Listen:
“It is a sigh of relief for most of us…People are more or less satisfied about the situation not necessarily because they are in support any of the two leaders but because of the expected return to peace and an Ivory Coast that is back to work,” a resident of Abidjan's Deux Plateau neighbourhood who did not want to give her name just told AlertNet on the phone.
What could be the implications of the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo for Ivorian refugees in Liberia?
“Those refugees (considered pro-Gbagbo) from the Danane region (which was controlled by the FN rebels) would remain cautious; and may likely stay as refugees in Liberia for an extended period. They constitute about half the refugee population in Liberia,” said Falie Baldeh, the national director of ChildFund Liberia.
ChildFund is working to assist women and children refugees by establishing Child-Friendly spaces, re-unifying lost children with families, providing psychosocial support and recruiting French teachers to provide an informal education to Ivorian refugees, the organisation said in a statement.
French shipping firm CMA CGM says its first ship due in Abidjan on Tuesday following resumption of Ivory Coast services
UNFPA Ghana has acted quickly to help the 7,200 refugees who arrived in the country. Two camps, Ampaim and Eagle Star have been set up to accommodate the refugees. At Ampain camp, at least 25 pregnant women have been identified. A mobile clinic was set up to offer antenatal care to these women. A midwife visits the camp twice a week to provide basic reproductive health services including antenatal care, short term family planning, condom distribution and emergency non risk deliveries. We have so far provided 825 dignity kits (sanitary pads, soap, etc) to women, 315 hygiene kits designed for pregnant women and nursing mothers, and emergency reproductive health kits to cater to a population of 10,000 refugees.
There is still a shortage of medical supplies in many hospitals around the country. Health facilities in Yamoussoukro have been using UNFPA delivery and post-sexual violence kits that had been sent to the area in the past few weeks. UNFPA will be giving 3 emergency reproductive health kits to hospitals in Abidjan, which will allow for safe cesarean sections. We will also be distributing clean delivery kits to Red Cross mobile clinics in Abidjan that will allow for about 400 safe deliveries. As of Friday, UNFPA was still waiting for a humanitarian corridor to deliver supplies to Man and Bouake.
In the Montagnes and Moyen Cavally regions of western Ivory Coast, 52 percent of health centres and 62 percent of hospitals are not operational due to lack of personnel, looting of drugs and medical equipment, partial or total destruction of health facilities as well as the persistent insecurity, the U.N. Office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.
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.
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.