Côte d'Ivoire: UN refugee agency voices concern at rising hostility towards foreigners
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today voiced concern about the increasing hostility towards foreigners, particularly refugees, in Côte d'Ivoire resulting from last week's coup attempt.
More than 400 refugees whose shelters were burned in the aftermath of the uprising have now sought UNHCR assistance in Abidjan, a spokesman for the agency said in Geneva. Between 30 and 40 refugees - mainly from destroyed shantytowns in Agban, Deux-Plateaux, Adjamé and Cocody - continue to arrive daily at the UNHCR office. More than 250 refugees are currently being housed in a rented shelter in Koumassi, while more than 140 are in the International Organization for Migration transit centre in Deux Plateaux.
"UNHCR has appealed to the local community for additional sites to house the refugees," spokesman Kris Janowski said, noting that a third centre was identified yesterday at a Catholic school, which offered to take in and care for 100 refugees for free. "But this site will quickly fill up and we urgently need more accommodation centres. The local community has shown a lot of solidarity. People have come to the office offering clothes and food for the refugees."
An estimated 5,000 people in Abidjan alone have been affected by the recent burning of the shantytowns, Mr. Janowski said, including refugees, other foreign nationals and Ivorians. Outside Abidjan, the situation reportedly remains very tense in Bouaké and Korhogo; among those evacuated by French troops from Bouaké were 50 refugees and family members of a UNHCR staff member.