UN allocates funds for humanitarian emergency in Cote d’Ivoire

23 March 2011

The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) today allocated $10.4 million to seven agencies working in Cote d’Ivoire to help meet the urgent humanitarian needs of people affected by the post-election violence that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

The West African country plunged into turmoil late last year after then incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo lost a UN-certified and internationally recognized election to the opposition figure Alassane Ouattara in November, but refused to step down as his supporters started a campaign of violent intimidation of their political rivals.

While humanitarian response has thus far focused on displacements of population in the west, the crisis is having far-reaching humanitarian consequences throughout the entire country, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which manages CERF.

The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in western Côte d’Ivoire is currently estimated at 45,000, with another 10,000 people having moved in with host families after fleeing their homes. In the commercial capital, Abidjan, the number of IDPs has risen to 300,000. More than 90,000 Ivorian refugees have crossed the border into Liberia.

In the west, the health and education sectors have been severely affected as close to 90 per cent of qualified medical staff and the majority of teaching staff are no longer reporting to work.

A shortage of essential medicines, the breakdown of the cold storage chain and the absence of disease surveillance have raised the spectre of a serious health crisis for thousands living in the area. As a result of internal displacement, food security could be compromised for thousands of households, according to OCHA.

The funds from the CERF will be used to help provide health care, non-food items, food, water and sanitation, and educational support.

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