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Agencies to scale up response amid violence in Abidjan

07 Apr 2011


USG Valerie Amos meets Ivorians displaced by recent violence in Duekoue, Côte d'Ivoire (4 April 2011). Credit: UNOCI/Basil Zoma
“The events of the last weeks are a wakeup call to the international community that if we are serious about preserving the hard-won peace and stability that have prevailed in West Africa in recent yea

Humanitarian agencies have stepped up their humanitarian response to meet the urgent needs of civilians caught in recent fighting in Côte d’Ivoire. In Abidjan, countless dead bodies are strewn over the city’s streets and entire neighborhoods are without electricity and water. Many hospitals, health facilities and schools have ceased their activities, and thousands of people have fled their homes in Abidjan to seek refuge in IDP sites or with host families.

ERC Valerie Amos has just returned from her trip to Côte d’Ivoire, where she traveled to the western towns of Man and Duékoué, the site of some of the mass killings and most serious human rights violations that have occurred since the start of the four-month old political crisis. Humanitarian agencies estimate there are 27,000 IDPs in Duékoué alone.

“People are immensely traumatised,” ERC Amos said in a press statement on 7 April 2011 after speaking with civilians in Duékoué earlier in the week. “They have witnessed terrible violence, and many have been directly targeted. Women told me stories of witnessing their husbands being executed. I spoke to women who had hidden in a swamp for three days, hiding from militias. I also heard claims that militias are hunting people with dogs.”

“The security situation is dangerous but the essence of our work is to help those whose lives are threatened. The humanitarian action must go on,” said Humanitarian Coordinator in Côte d’Ivoire Ndolamb Ngokwey from Abidjan in a statement on 7 April 2011. UN agencies and NGOs have increased aid in Duékoué, providing food, non-food items, water, nutritional supplements, and essential medicines and supplies. Many other NGOs have launched appeals and plan to deploy staff.

“We are facing a critical situation,” said Ngokwey. “We just need the violence to stop and full access be granted to reach the displaced, the children, the pregnant women, the sick, the elderly and all the other victims across the country. We reiterate our call that civilians cease being victims of this conflict and that aid reaches them without further delay.”

More>> USG's statement - OCHA Press Release  [English - French]

Pour la version française visitez le portail d'OCHA en Afrique de l’Ouest et Centrale (ROWCA).