With drought hitting northern farmers in divided Côte d’Ivoire and international appeals for aid funding largely ignored, United Nations programmes have received a slew of requests for food aid, safe water and medicines, while children under opposition rule there may not be allowed to take vital school examinations.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the 2004 Humanitarian Appeal for Côte d’Ivoire had received only about one third of the required $61 million for emergency programmes, while the UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) request for 34,000 tons of food in 2005 for areas of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali had received no offers.
OCHA was going to launch a revised humanitarian appeal for Côte d’Ivoire next Monday, a UN spokesman said.
Farmers in the Korhogo, Bouna and Ferkessedougou districts told a non-governmental organization’s (NGO) assessment mission that lack of adequate rain meant that their harvest this year had only amounted to half of that in 2003.
In two villages near Bouaké, the opposition’s headquarters, a combined mission from OCHA, WFP and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) found that 2,500 internally displaced people (IDPs) lacked food, clean water and sanitation.
Rebel-held areas had provided no public administration or basic social services since a violent attempt at a military coup failed in 2002. “Civilians in the North have been sinking further into poverty, having been cut off from the commercial activities and social services of the South,” OCHA said.
Meanwhile, the Government was not organizing end of school year examinations for 350,000 young students in the north.
“This impasse is also jeopardizing the 2005 school year, which would leave these and thousands of other children vulnerable to delinquency, association with or recruitment into armed or violent activities, and sexual and economic exploitation,” OCHA said.