UN cites urgent need to boost humanitarian aid in aftermath of Ivorian crisis
|Publisher||UN News Service|
|Publication Date||27 April 2011|
|Cite as||UN News Service, UN cites urgent need to boost humanitarian aid in aftermath of Ivorian crisis, 27 April 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4dbe600ec.html [accessed 29 August 2014]|
The post-electoral crisis in Côte d'Ivoire may have ended but thousands of civilians are still suffering from the consequences of the four months of turmoil that engulfed the West African nation and require increased humanitarian assistance, the United Nations said today.
UN aid officials have estimated that up to 1 million Ivorians have been displaced by the violence, with some internally displaced and others forced to flee into neighbouring countries - particularly Liberia, which is hosting 135,000 Ivorians.
The crisis ended earlier this month when Laurent Gbagbo finally surrendered, ending months of violence that erupted in the wake of his refusal to step down after he lost the UN-certified presidential run-off election last November to Alassane Ouattara.
While the fighting has ended, UN relief officials say ongoing insecurity in some places, as well as difficulties in accessing essential health, education and sanitation services, is increasing the vulnerability of the population.
"A greater proportion of the population has been directly or indirectly affected by the crisis which started late last year. These populations should be assisted without further delay to enable them to live in acceptable conditions and regain their dignity," said the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Côte d'Ivoire, Ndolamb Ngokwey.
The UN has already deployed an evaluation team, known as UNDAC, to Abidjan and the country's west, both of which bore the brunt of the recent violence. In the west, the team confirmed persistent needs in the areas of shelter, food security, health care, water and sanitation, access to education and protection.
The priority needs in the area include the distribution of tarpaulins, kitchen utensils, mats and other non-food items, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In addition, the presence of arms and the risk of sexual abuse require urgent attention.
In the area of health, OCHA noted that despite the looting of health centres, pharmacies and maternities, medical personnel have started to resume work. It also cited the need to accelerate vaccination programmes for children, as well as rehabilitate water pumps and promote basic hygiene practices.
In the commercial capital of Abidjan, assessment teams have highlighted the need to assist the Government in the areas of civilian protection, health, education and public hygiene, including lightening the burden put on overstretched referral hospitals due to an absence of operational dispensaries and community health facilities.
"With the impending rainy season, clearing of drainage and cleaning of conduits, markets and other public places would be necessary to prevents epidemics of diseases such as cholera," stated Laurent Dufour, UNDAC's Team Leader in Côte d'Ivoire.
Earlier this month, UN agencies and their partners launched an appeal for $160 million to provide food security, nutrition, education, protection, water, health care and sanitation to as many as 2 million people throughout Côte d'Ivoire. To date, the appeal is 20 per cent funded, according to OCHA.