UN agencies send humanitarian aid to ease suffering of people in Cote d'Ivoire
UN agencies are acting in concert to step up humanitarian aid to the people in Cote d'Ivoire in a bid to relieve the civilians from suffering, which was caused by a lengthy political impasse in the West African country, UN officials said here Friday.
Although Monday's arrest of former self-declared president Laurent Gbabgo appears to be the end of the violence, an estimated one million people of the country are still suffering from human rights violations and the displacement, the officials said.
Cote d'Ivoire has been in crisis since Gbagbo refused to step down as president after the November 2010 run-off presidential election, Xinhua reported. Ouattara was the UN-certified winner of the elections, but Gbagbo's forces have prevented his government from taking over, leading to violent clashes.
Given the urgent humanitarian needs of the country, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children' s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Program (WFP) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) are stepping up their efforts to deal with the humanitarian crisis.
According to UNHCR, the living condition of some 200,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in western Cote d'Ivoire was a matter of concerns and the insecurity prevented access to the Ivorian refugees in the neighboring countries, including Liberia, said Andrej Mahecic, UNHCR spokesman.
UNHCR increased its presence in the western part of Cote d' Ivoire and provided support to more than 150,000 of Ivorian refugees in Liberia. So far, 10,000 IDPs in the area have received the relief items from UNHCR, the officials said.
Herve Ludovic de Lys, UNICEF designated representative in Cote d'Ivoire, said that a mass vaccination campaign will be launched as soon as security allows it.Thirty-two tons of relief supplies for Abidjan and 15 tons each for the town of Man in the west of the country and Bouake in the centre will be sent by chartered planes on Saturday, the officials said.
Water treatment products were also to be distributed by UNICEF to prevent the spread of deadly epidemics, as well as essential drugs for 8,000 patients. For children, UNICEF provided biscuits for these suffering from malnutrition and attached importance to the mental health of the children who experienced extreme violence.
Social cohesion and reconciliation in Cote d'Ivoire were emphasized by WFP spokesperson Emilia Casella, and the food distributions were starting in a number of communities to provide high-energy biscuits transported from neighboring Burkina Faso, the official added.
As hospitals and health centers remained closed in Cote d' Ivoire, WHO organized the distribution of 10 tons of medicines which were also transported from neighboring countries. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that humanitarian agencies have appealed for 160 million U. S. dollars to scale up aid for the next nine months.