Côte d'Ivoire: The emergency is not yet over

19 Oct 2011

Children at a site for displaced families in Guiglo, western Côte d’Ivoire. Credit: IRIN/Nancy Palus
Ndolamb Ngokwey, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, urges donors to raise more funds for the continuing crisis in Côte d’Ivoire

The humanitarian crisis in Côte d’Ivoire needs an urgent boost in international funding, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator said on Wednesday, during a European tour to draw more attention to the country’s fragile recovery.

More than 194,000 people are internally displaced, and more than 187,000 remain in neighbouring countries, following widespread post-electoral violence late last year and early this year. Displaced Ivorians have limited access to basic social services, including education, healthcare, water, sanitation and food.

"The end of the political and military crisis in Côte d'Ivoire does not mean the end of the humanitarian crisis,” said Ndolamb Ngokwey in Geneva, during a week-long mission to London, Geneva, Paris and Brussels. “It is very important to help Ivorian IDPs and refugees return home in dignity, and in an atmosphere of security.”

Many people want to return, and have already begun to do so in significant numbers, but there is still a need to rebuild houses destroyed during the fighting, ensure sufficient food supplies and security. A failure to deal with their needs could exacerbate social tensions, and dissuade more people from returning.

The Appeal for Côte d'Ivoire is currently one of the least funded humanitarian crises in the world, with only US$92m (31 per cent) secured of a needed $292m.

“It's time to act before it's too late,” said Mr Ngokwey, adding that the international community should not allow the crisis to become “silent, invisible and forgotten”.

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