Côte d’Ivoire needs continued humanitarian support, stresses UN relief official

18 January 2012

Côte d’Ivoire remains in great need of humanitarian assistance nine months after the end of the bloody post-election violence that displaced tens of thousands of people, a senior United Nations relief official said today, urging donors to continue their generosity to the West African country throughout this year.

“Assistance to the most vulnerable persons remains an absolute priority, especially in the country’s western and south-western regions,” said Catherine Bragg, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, at the end of a three-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire.

“Considerable needs remain in several areas such as protection of civilians, restoration of means of livelihood, shelter, access to basic services and voluntary return and reintegration of displaced persons and refugees,” said Ms. Bragg, who is also the Deputy UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

To kick-start the vital relief in the country this year, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has just allocated $8 million for life-saving projects.

“A premature exit of humanitarian actors could aggravate the situation,” noted Ms. Bragg. “It is therefore important that financial resources should be made available to ensure continuity of humanitarian action.”

At a meeting with President Allassane Ouattara, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, State Minister for Internal Affairs Hamed Bakayoko, and the Minister of Human Rights and Civil Liberties, Gnénéma Coulibaly, Ms. Bragg reaffirmed the humanitarian community’s commitment to the Ivorian people. She also had a meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs, Daniel Kablan Duncan.

Ms. Bragg stressed that the country’s 2012-2015 National Development Plan, which will soon be adopted by the Government, should also serve as an avenue for alleviating the humanitarian crisis.

She highlighted the need to confront problems that have their roots in crises that have bedevilled Côte d’Ivoire over the past decade. Emphasis should also be on security reform, the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former fighters, and judicial reform, she added.

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